Drivers of 2012, Ferrari get biggest FOM payout,Raikkonen like Lauda?, #BOTTAS and F1 social media, Turkey 2013, Kamui in GP2, Bernie back in team ownership, Kimi goes snowmobile racing

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Silverstone Media Awards: Many thejudge13 readers are outside the UK (65%) and I’ve had a few enquiries as to whether they are eligible to vote. The answer is yes and all you need to do is leave your name and an email address to vote on Silverstone’s website – the links are below.

Last years winner was a polish blog called F1 talks. (Link)

If you enjoy thejudge13 site, please take the 2 minutes to vote for it. I am committed to an advert free site, because all these pop ups drive me crazy but I do want to develop the site and an award like this will help me in two ways. I am looking to syndicate articles to International publications (mostly local media) where they have no local F1 knowledge and rely on Reuters news feeds to educate their readers.

Of course I would be paid for this syndication but the funds received will go towards taking thejudge13 onward and upward. One of the things I am looking at is a podcast for 2013. Much of the current media produced F1 audio/visual material is quite starchy and I believe there is room for a weekly discussion programme of a more relaxed nature – with regular expert fans and guests.

I am presently talking to a well know F1 media individual about this, but there will be a cost attached. Getting sponsorship is easier when you’ve won an award. So please take a couple of minutes to help thejudge13 in turn help you get even more from F1 in 2013.

31 people by last night have clicked through on the link previously provided, so here’s how Silverstone tell you to vote.

Fans can cast their votes now via Silverstone Circuit’s Facebook page: Voting closes 12:00hrs on 11 December, 2012. To vote from a mobile visit

Ferrari ask FIA for clarification: 11:00 GMT just received this tweet – “Ferrari asked, in a letter, a clarification from the FIA ​​about the overtaking of VET/VER during the 4th round of the Brazilian Grand Prix”. It was in Italian, my best translation efforts.

Funny thing was – 2 minutes later Autosport released a prepared “Exclusive story” saying the FIA confirms to them that they received no communication from any team regarding the matter. Further, Autosport say the FIA has reviewed the matter and there is no case to answer. So who’s making things up?

Anyway, there is precedent for the Stewards re-convening days after a race is concluded. In Australia 2009 Trulli’s third place was put under investigation. The stewards decided that the Italian regained his position overtaking Hamilton during a safety car period, having run off the track when the safety car was out. Trulli was penalised 25 seconds, moving him down to 12th. Here’s the chaos that ensued…

Trulli’s explanation of the incident was: “When the safety car came out towards the end of the race Lewis Hamilton passed me but soon after he suddenly slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do.”

In public Hamilton corroborated this, stating that the McLaren team had told him to let Trulli repass. Behind closed doors, however, Hamilton told the stewards that he had received no instruction to allow Trulli past, and had not consciously done so. Toyota had appealed the penalty firstly to the stewards, but that appeal was rejected, as a team cannot appeal a time penalty—in lieu of the fact that the offence occurred within the last five laps of the race—in accordance with Article 16.3 of the Sporting Regulations for Formula One.

Toyota then appealed to the clerk of the course, Tim Schenken, but later retracted this appeal stating that: “Having considered recent judgements of the International Court of Appeal, it is believed any appeal will be rejected.”]

The Trulli/Hamilton case was reopened to examine new evidence, and both drivers were summoned to a stewards’ inquiry prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix. Ostensibly at the urging of his team, Hamilton continued to insist he had not received orders to allow Trulli past, even after being played an audio recording of such an instruction being received over his team radio.

The stewards decided that Hamilton and McLaren had misled them, having contradicted the available evidence. Hamilton was disqualified and McLaren stripped of their constructors’ points. Trulli was re-instated into third place. McLaren’s Sporting Director, Dave Ryan, was subsequently suspended by the team the day after Hamilton’s disqualification was announced.

McLaren were summoned to appear before the FIA on 29 April 2009 to answer charges of breaching the International Sporting Code. At this meeting, McLaren were given a suspended three-race ban, which would only be applied if a similar offence occurred within the next twelve months. It was revealed that Dave Ryan had been sacked by McLaren.

Alonso meanwhile is recharging his batteris (pic)

Drivers of 2012: Today is the last day you can vote for your 3 driver’s of the year. We have 3 separate votes for drivers in the top 4, middle 4 and bottom 4 teams. Currently Ricciardo is running away with over 43% of the vote for the bottom 4 teams. Hulkenberg is leading from a closely matched Schumacher and Maldonado in the middle group. Fernando has over 40% of the vote for the top team driver’s with Vettel scoring just 12% so far. Here’s the link if you’ve not voted (Link)

Bernie owning an F1 team? – how the F1 wheel turns: There’s a story kicking around today, emanating from a Brazilian journalists blog, that Mr. E may be about to buy/invest in Lotus. The impact of this claims Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, is that Lotus are leaving open the second race seat for now amid its negotiations with the potential team investors.

Further, apparently Mr. E has suggested were he to take over as owner he would bring in a “very controversial” new team boss. The Brazilian reporter insists though, “Not Flavio Briatore”.

Speculation in the twittershpere has been that it could be Pat Symmonds who is of course controversial following his involvement in the Nelson Piquet crashgate affair. Symonds was subsequently suspended from F1 events for 5 years after expressing his “eternal regret and shame” to the FIA.

Symonds returned to F1 as a consultant for the Virgin Racing team (now Marussia F1) team in 2011 in order to conduct a thorough overview of its operation, following a disappointing start to its second season in the sport.

Out of this story comes another suggesting Kamui Kobayashi has entered the frame as a potential replacement for Romain Grosjean, according to Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper.

Another Finnish media outlet MTV3 proposes ‘at risk’  Heikki Kovalainen, is also a candidate for Lotus. Yet Grosjean enjoys the support of team boss Eric Boullier and also the team’s important French backer Total, but it is believed the 26 year old tumultuous 2012 season has sparked deliberations about whether he should keep the seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

Turun Sanomat, quotes Gerard Lopez saying “Kimi comes at a cost to us, but on the other hand he helps us in the manufacturers’ standings, bringing even more money to the team.”

Presumably for now the team needs a driver that brings sponsorship as Grosjean does, but if Mr. E throws some of his gazillions at this then it could be all change.

The irony of this all is that Bernie was a failed F1 driver, failed team boss/owner and so he lucked into making billions from negotiating initially TV deals and then all commercial arrangements on behalf of the FIA and F1.

In his twilight years, maybe he has a ghost to put to rest. It would certainly be a pleasant distraction from the impending lawsuits and cold shoulder treatment some suggest he is feeling already.

How the wheel of F1 turns!

Prost says Vettel lucky: The former French F1 champion told RMC Sport today he felt Vettel “had a lot of luck, especially in Abu Dhabi and Brazil. He was a lucky champion. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve it, far from it”.

What does that mean?

Ferrari get the biggest payout: You would think that Red Bull would receive the most money from the F1` coffers, after all they have won both drivers’ and constructors’ titles. Yet those of you who are steeped in Bernie and F1 history will know the biggest annual payday tends to go to Maranello. ‘Formula Money’ reports that Ferrari will be paid $105m this year whilst Red Bull Racing will receive just $87m.

The reason is all part of Mr. E’s web of intrigue and influence. There is a special payment made to the team who has the longest participation in the Formula 1 World Championship. This is an additional 2.5 percent of the entire revenue generated by the sport and in 2012 is believed to be around $29.3m. Were Ferrari not to receive this ‘bonus’ they would be collecting around $6m less than the winning Austrian team.

Kamui Support: Another $300,000 into the Kamui pot. Now it stands at 105,288,319 yen ($1.284,000). Just to give you some idea of what it costs to drive in various formula. To fund a GP2 drive requires $2.5-3m. Indycar $5-7m and anything above that for an F1 drive. Senna is reported to have $10-12m behind him.

Here’s an idea – KK driving in GP2 for a year. We’ve heard a lot this year about how bad the drivers are and it’s just a crashfest series like NASCAR from slightly arrogant F1 personnel, it would be great to know what the series is actually like to race in from an experienced F1 driver.

I’ve watched several GP2 races live this year and was at SPA on the Saturday when there was a huge crash in the first GP2 race at eau rouge. I watched a lot of the races too on TV and I have to say, the racing is compelling to watch live. 30 odd cars makes a big difference to the spectacle when compared to F1’s 24.

Further, I saw far more clever wheel to wheel combat than we’ve seen in F1 and overtakes too, without the aid of DRS and KERS. Please don’t think I’m advocating F1 continues its journey towards becoming a spec series, because I’m not. Suffice to say in all my years of watching F1, the GP2 series as a race weekend support for F1 is as good as I’ve seen.

Having a driver like Kobayashi race in the series could add serious clout to the GP2 profile and rather than charge him for a drive, the organisers should consider paying him to advance the coverage of and the interest in their series for a year.

As pointed out by thejudge13 reader Peter S Randall, Kamui Kobayashi can’t compete in GP2. From the 2012 GP2 Sporting Regulations:

“Any driver who previously won the GP2 Series Championship or any driver who completed a full season in the FIA Formula One World Championship will not be permitted to participate in the Series.”

Raikkonen follows in Lauda’s footsteps: Former World Champion Alan Jones rates Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback season as “one of the most successful” the sport has seen.

1980 champion Jones (LEFT) said the Finn’s performances were on a similar level to Niki Lauda, who won the title in the third year of his comeback. The Austrian had quit grand prix racing before the end of the 1979 season but returned with McLaren in 1982, winning his third and final championship in 1984.

Jones, whose own return to F1 from his 1981 retirement in 1985-’86 with the newly created Haas Lola team was unsuccessful – said: “I think he surprised a lot of people, me included. He’s come back to Formula 1 and he’s done extremely well. It’s probably one of the most successful comebacks, next to Lauda and so forth, so good on him.”

I’m not sure Kimi would necessarily be delighted to be compared to Nikki. They are chalk and cheese as personalities. One loves the publicity and is relentlessly self promoting and the other prefers to avoid the limelight.

Kimi to go snowmobile racing: Not long after signing for Lotus and weeks before his return to F1, Kimi went snowmobile racing last year and smashed his wrist up. He showed the damage on Top Gear and it didn’t look pretty. I tried this last year in Finland and I’m an adrenalin junkie (jumped off mountains with a parachute, olympic bobsleigh runs…) but this was scary.

Anyway, Kimi is entered in a race in Saalbach on December 8th – so if you want to party with an F1 driver – there’s the destination for the weekend. Kimi has entered these events before under the name of his hero, ‘James Hunt’.

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Turkey 2013: Usually the 2013 calendar is the bain of my life, but I’m happy to report this. I did suggest a couple of months back that when the NJ GP fell off the calendar for 2013, Turkey would be a good choice.

Firstly FOM/Ecclestone own/have substantial investment in Instanbul Park. I point this out not because that means FOM can make more money, because they would make less promoting their own race, but that it would be easier to sanction and make a race happen in Turkey quickly than elsewhere.

Secondly, prior to the circuit in Austin, I rate this track as one of Tilke’s best. Overtaking has always been possible and for some reason the pole sitter to winner conversion ratio has been less than at other venues.

Thirdly, any excuse to visit the city of Istanbul again would be most welcome. If you’re in Europe and never been – it has to be in the top 5 destinations to go.

#BOTTAS: Twitter is a strange place at times. For those of you who do not enter the twittershpere, I can’t really explain this to you. Yesterday within 30 minutes of Williams announcing its driver lineup #Senna was trending worldwide but #Bottas was nowhere to be seen. Then some wags decided it was time for some fun and that the hashtag #BOTTAS could be quite amusing.

We had #BOTTAS trending worldwide apparently and variations such as #BIGbadBOTTAS, #BOTTASgonnaGETyou and #BELIEVEinBOTTAS were being created at a vast rate of knots. All very childish toilet based humour of course 🙂 (explanation for those who may lose something in English translation – #BOTTAS sounds like BOTTY or BOTTOM, snigger).

But what if #Bottas is not very good at driving an F1 car. We’ll see I suppose it is good to have plenty of rookies in F1 for the senior drivers to lambast as ‘kids who don’t know what they’re doing’  or as Webber said of Vettel in 2008 Japan “kids who “do a good job and then f**k it all up”. – all part of the new boy 1st year in school fagging for the prefects fun I guess. Ask Romain.

Anyway I suspect there will be a lot more to come next year with #BOTTAS particularly if Williams start doing social media better. Lotus do the best job IMHO on the social media front. Clever ideas like having a hastag for every track like #AUSTINPOWERS and #ABUDABIDOO where all the weekend tweeting from the team is posted and fans can respond there too.

Vettel Yellow Flag: This sums it up methinks

Anyone know which car is featured in this film?

Ferrari protest Christmas: This is an amusing spin on the #yellowflaggate affair from sniff-petrol

The Ferrari F1 team has announced that it is ‘evaluating’ whether to launch an official protest against Christmas.

‘Last December we became aware that a man travelled the world giving gifts to children whilst wearing a suit that made unauthorised use of the signature red and white Ferrari colours,’ said Maranello spokesman Paul Oozer. ‘Since then we have been carefully examining footage of this ‘Christmas’ event and, although we did not mention it at the time, we now believe we have a case against the gentleman who infringed our copyright, Mr Claus, which we can string out in as over-dramatic and pathetically childish a way as possible.’

If the Italian team decides to go ahead with its action against Father Christmas, it could have dire consequences for the jocular Laplander’s usual present distribution routine and indeed for Christmas itself. However, Ferrari believe they have a solution to this potential seasonal crisis; ‘As the rightful users of the red and white colour scheme, we would take over the whole Christmas event,’ said a spokesman. ‘Fernando Alonso has the pace to deliver presents all over the world in just one night and Felipe Massa looks like an elf. Plus, the 2013 car was basically a bit of a turkey.’

As for the actual presents to be delivered to youngsters across the globe, Ferrari claim they would have a solution to that too. ‘What child would not want to receive a Ferrari-branded golfing glove or Ferrari-branded ice scraper?’ their spokesman asked. ‘Although of course in return the child would owe us 390 and 735 Euros respectively.’

Whilst Ferrari continue to deliberate on their next move, others are less than impressed with their potential plan to ruin Christmas. ‘FFS, can’t they just drop it and move on,’ said the rest of the world, yesterday.

Hulkenberg: Looks like one of those new-born lambs in March that can spring vertically into the air.

Nico Hulkenberg GP Brazil 2012

Quote of the day: From a thejudge13 twitter follower – “I can’t return to the gym until I lose some weight” @sirpaulbellamy

On this day in F1, Nov 29th

A light aircraft piloted by double world champion Graham Hill crashed as it attempted to land in freezing fog at Elstree Aerodrome in Hertfordshire. Hill was killed along with 5 members of his Embassy Hill racing team, including up-and-coming young driver Tony Brise.

The fog was reported to be so dense that a professional pilot would have been forced to divert, but at the time such regulations did not apply to amateurs. The six men had been flying back from Marseilles where they had been testing a car for the next season.

The Piper Aztec, which Hill had bought with his winnings from the 1966 Indianapolis 500, crashed on a nearby golf course and then burst into flames as it careened into trees. Worse was to come for the Hill family as it subsequently emerged the plane was not properly insured and so relatives of the victims successfully sued Hill’s estate for compensation.

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo launched an attack on the running of F1 and called for the teams to take control of the sport rather than it to continue being Bernie Ecclestone’s “one-man show”. He said: “We have to have one Formula One owner, but that should be a strong management owner of all the teams.

How can we race when we get just 47% of the television revenues, and, to be honest, I don’t know much that is? I don’t want a direct involvement in running it. I don’t want Ferrari or Mercedes running things, but we have to be part of a company with a strong management and, I hope, with Bernie, as long as he is fit enough, to be running it with transparency, a single voice and an increase in income.” The ownership subsequently changed hands but Ecclestone remained – and remains – in tight control of the sport.

Nothing changed there then – except of course Ferrari already get 2.5% of all F1 revenue as a ‘bonus’ for being the oldest F1 competitor. Others have suggested it ensures they always find common ground with the FIA and FOM when teams are tempted to stand up for what they deserve.

Please leave your thoughts and comments.

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25 responses to “Drivers of 2012, Ferrari get biggest FOM payout,Raikkonen like Lauda?, #BOTTAS and F1 social media, Turkey 2013, Kamui in GP2, Bernie back in team ownership, Kimi goes snowmobile racing

  1. Kamui Kobayashi can’t compete in GP2. From the 2012 GP2 Sporting Regulations:

    “Any driver who previously won the GP2 Series Championship or any driver who completed a full season in the FIA Formula One World Championship will not be permitted to participate in the Series.”

    • Thanks for that Peter. I did say, ‘here’s an idea’ and obviously as you point out not a good one 🙂

      I suppose the point of that rule is to keep fresh blood coming through. MHO the series would benefit though from the odd ex-F1 driver improving its profile.

      • The problem was, before the ruling was made, GP2 was used by drivers like Giorgio Pantano who had their shot at F1 and failed. Sure, it worked out for Glock, but I don’t want the GP2 grid to be full of people like Senna.

        • Fair point – I’ve really enjoyed GP2 this year and don’t subscribe to the dissmisive attitude from certain F1 senior figures re:quality of driving.

          Maybe the series could nominate 1 ex-F1 driver each year to compete as an ambassador/profile raise/benchmark for other drivers.

          Just thinking off the top of my head.

      • I’ve probably watched over half the GP2 races this year, thanks to Sky’s coverage. Quite enjoyed it, especially watching how the young British drivers (Calado, Chilton and Palmer) got on.

  2. Im glad ferrari asked for a clarification, not because i believe Vettel did anything wrong, just because now FIA will be forced to clear him off doing anything wrong.

    If the issue had just drifted apart or ferrari had said “In the interests of the sport, we are not complaining”, it would be a taint on Vettel’s title forever. Somewhere down the road, people would always say oh yes Vettel won but he was let off a wrongdoing.

    Now this matter can be closed.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Shouldn’t have taken the FIA this long, but then they’re not great at understanding the speed at which social media works these days.

      • In defense of FIA, they did say there is no issue to clear up. Why would they clarify that a legal pass is that only – legal.

        It was something that was made up by the social media and sustained by us fans looking for some F1 intrigue after the season end.

        Not that Im complaining, before the green flag waving was spotted, I actually thought Vettel will get a penalty.

        Helps with the F1 withdrawal that’s just beginning 🙂

      • FIA are set up as a judiciary body, and trained by Moseley, to work like all slow bureaucratic courts. They stick to the rules, apparent from the way in which they report “the stewards received a report from the marshalls, the stewards examined the evidence, the stewards judged etc. etc.”

        BTW, Bernie has been busy putting copyright notices on all Youtube videos of the “Vettel passes under yellow lights” incident. Now that is definitely something that needs to be brought in to the 21st century. I hope that whoever buys/runs FOM after the mooted sale by Bernie/CVC, they will exploit the vast library of videos/clips of past races better than the current lot.

        p.s. your copy for thejudge13 blog could do with being put through a spell checker. It is the only negative comment I have about the blog, so I hope you will take it in the positive manner that it is intended.

  3. Did you read about Kamui having a possibility at Lotus as they want a stable driver (cue Romain). Can half see the logic but stable drivers are just that, no excitement. Can’t see it being true but it would be a pity if Romain loses his seat IMHO, I like the carbon fiber club boys, not even the front row is safe with them 😜

  4. That car in “Ferris Buellers day off” looks like a Ferrari 250 GT California – utter anorak award goes to me I suppose 😉

    The timing of Autosport’s ‘exclusive analysis why Vettel’s move was legal’ was quite priceless. Never mind that half the interwebs had riddled that out by Tuesday.

    I’m sure that Ferrari’s ‘request for clarification’ was a mere token gesture to appease the Spanish media, who had been frothing at the mouth since early Monday. El Mundo even ran some sort of ‘countdown’ how many hours were left for Ferrari to whack FIA upside the head with a protest. They left little to be guessed what they expected the Scuderia to do.

    Will that be an end to this infamous saga? I don’t think so. The Spaniards are deeply hurt and they are not very gracious runner-ups if the last weeks are anything to go by. Alonso had lost the championship twice before by less than 5 points. They were deeply afraid of it happening again and it did. Suffice to say, while Ferrari managed to come out of it without losing too much face, the Spanish and Italian media are going away with a massive load of egg on it.

    Sadly it will go on. The last week has been an endless campaign by Spanish and Italian media alike to find something to smear or discredit whom they thought was the wrong Champion. It started with the Kobayashi pass. Questionable kudo’s for that disaster has to go to Sky’s Martin Brundle for getting it spectacularly wrong and hyping the whole thing. Martin, mate, weren’t you a driver yourself once? How about brushing up on them rules?

    When that one went out of the window, the Italian yellow press quickly unearthed a post-race interview Vettel gave to German TV broadcaster RTL in which he allegedly made tasteless remarks about Ayrton Senna’s grave. Lo and behold, upon actually hearing the whole interview, it turned out that it was actually the interviewer, who had brought Ayrtons name up and tried to bait Vettel into saying something negative about Bruno after their first lap crash. (I can provide a translation of that interview btw, if there’s interest)

    With that myth out of the way, too, in came the infamous video about the pass on Vergne. Sadly that myth went the way of the dodo, too and one would think that now it would be time to put it to rest. Phat chance.

    Newest party line is that Vettel won utterly unfairly, because neither the Torro Rosso’s nor Michael Schumacher provided enough resistance. It’s utterly unfair that the STR drivers didn’t bite the hand that feeds them and how could Schumacher dare not to get in the way of a good friend in atrocious conditions with said friend being 2s a lap faster anyway.

    I must admit that by now it has turned into a source of entertainment. Passionate F1 fans have never been the most gracious losers, but the sort of absurd stuff some people are making up in Internet Forums had me in stitches for days now 😀

    Anyways, thanks for your entertaining blog entries. I especially liked the bit about Mr. E 🙂

  5. Its getting difficult to find the updates you make to your blog as the day passes. I get to know about a new section being added through twitter but have to go through the entire post to find that 1 paragraph which generally gets put in the middle somewhere.

    Is there a way around it? Maybe breaking up the post or color coding?

    Apart from that great work and keep it coming 🙂

    • I was actually thinking of making a similar comment – would it be possible to time-stamp the posts so we know if there has been an update since we last checked?

      I like the way you update the stories to keep them relevant but it can make it hard to find what is new. Not sure what to suggest as the best way to highlight changes though!

      • Rushil and Stephen

        It has worried me this issue. The problem is I use a piece of pre-written blog software – and I am not a computer programmer. This software does everything for me except write the content – well nearly. I don’t know how to change background colours (there is a way but I need to do a training course – maybe over the winter)

        The reason I don’t just do say 2000 words or thereabouts of content and then start a post with the next article is I don’t want to hack the email people off by posting several new posts a day.

        People come top the site each day for the first time from 00:00 to 23:59, so the headline stories when I first post the blog are on their emails and I prefer not to move those stories around – but I do accept bigger stories may have since broken.

        I think for now – if I add to an existing story, I’ll put UPDATE 11:44 GMT, and each new story for the day will appear just above “On this day in F1” – would that help

        • No problem, and your comment and my response has led to an f1 fan web developer contacting me offering some assistance.

          I’m not like many of the F1 website/bloggers who are a bit defensive and… well you fill in the blanks. I’m always open to suggestions and ideas.

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