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Fearnly criticises Hulkneberg: It appears Nico Hulkenberg’s move to Sauber may not have been the best decision of his career – if you listen to deputy team principal of Force India, Bob Fernley.”Nico has left the team at an inopportune moment for him,” he suggested in an interview with Autosport ‘.
He goes on to argue, “If you look at the stats since the summer break, the Force India car was clearly the fifth best performing. We’re still quite a distance off the top four, but since the summer break we’ve forged ahead of all the others.”
We then get the usual platitudes of separated lovers remaining friends, “We’re very sad to see Nico go,” he said. “He’s been a great asset to the team. We’ve enjoyed having him around and it’s a loss to us. There’s no question that we’re sad he’s leaving.”
The teams other more established driver, Di Resta, seems to have struggled this year yet Force India will retain his services for 2013. It appears Di Resta himself may have been looking for a move to another team, but Fearnly denies this saying, “No, I don’t think so. Up to Singapore, Paul had dominated and Nico was feeling down. Since Singapore it went the other way around. That’s how it’s gone with them all season, they’re so close.
thejudge13 has been following closely the non-F1 woes of the Mallya and Sahara respective empires and believes the reason for Hulkneberg moving on was due to concerns over the possible financing of the team and whether it would be able to push on in 2013.
Of course since Hulkenberg’s announcement to leave we’ve had Mallya boasting an $80m investment in equipment and tooling for the team but no detail of where its coming from. Forbes recently downgraded him to an $800 millionaire but most of this is tied up in non-liquid assets and whether Vijay can lay his hands on $10m at present would be questionable.
Sahara too have their problems, the Indian securities Authorities have demanded they have repay over $4bn plus 15% interest to investors they defrauded in the next couple of weeks. Further, the investment announcement carries even less weight when you consider it came following a meeting with Mr. E who was doing his annual ‘health check’ on the mid-table teams and their ongoing financial viability.
All this said, I have to agree with Bob Fearnley as in thejudge13 article “Why Sauber will fall back in 2013” I attempt to show that Sauber do well when there is a significant rule change and the rules banning off throttle exhaust blowing for 2012 gave them innovative design opportunities that doesn’t exist next year.
Concorde Challenged in European Courts: It could be that the newly negotiated Concorde Agreement ends in tatters before the ink dries on the paper. The problem appears to be with the newly proposed Steering Group that excludes the participation of certain teams.
Not surprisingly, the idea for this committee emanated from Mr. E. 3 teams are signed up for the 5 slots available for permanent members – Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes and Williams have been invited as the other 2. Lotus at present would fill the 6th slot following their performance in the constructors’ championship.
The smaller teams have expressed concern at their new found position of exclusion and it may be that they will invoke EU competition law to prevent this arrangement coming into force. The CEO of Sauber, Indian born lawyer Monisha Kaltenborn, has been vocal on this matter on more than 1 occasion in the past 6 months.
I believe earlier this year, Daimler Benz instructed legal experts to examine this matter thoroughly, in particular the dominant position of Ecclestone/FOM and specific articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). FOM’s is the only organisation that distributes F1 rights to teams but has inconsistent criteria as to how they are applied.
Legal scrutiny suggests that the way the money is distributed among the F1 teams is also anti-competitive. Some get paid a lot more than others for the identical participation and performance criteria. Further, Caterham and Marussia have been excluded from the F1 commission on the grounds that they have not managed to score any Championship points in the past 3 years.
The expert opinion finds problematic that the commercial rights holder can selectively decide on which of the existing teams will be equipped with a new “Concorde Agreement” and which are not. For example, Marussia has to date there is no commercial “Concorde” offer on the table, this may be interpreted as a distortion of competition rules because other teams will earn a lot of money from their ‘Concorde’ deal with Ecclestone.
SKY need new F1 sponsor: I have had to laugh today, following the announcement that Santander have pulled out of their sponsorship of SKT TV’s F1 cover, a number of F1 ‘watchers’ have tweeted they didn’t even know they were part of the SKY F1 broadcasts. Maybe this is why Santander have pulled out.
As is with commercial TV these days, certain high profile shows have a sponsor, whose logo and mini advert is played immediately before the show begins, at the start and end of each commercial break and after the closing credits. I do remember Santander’s 1-2-3 accounts being battered into my skull all year – how you can miss it I do not know.
Nevertheless, this form of sponsorship is highly profitable to SKY and would have been of the order of several million a year for hundreds of adverts across the entire F1 channel. Times are tough in advertising as companies are beginning to realise globally some $20-30bn a year is wasted on branding exercises that gain their businesses no advantage.
McLaren want 2 sec pit stops normal: Sam Michael told Autosport today, “We want to complete a pit stop in two seconds.” He adds, “We thought we would achieve that this year and are confident that it is possible.” McLaren of course have the F1 record of 2.31 secs to complete the stop on Jenson’s car in Hockenheim.
Michael reckons that there is plenty of room both from technological and personal fitness angles to make 2 seconds a normative time.
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Austrian GP a no go: Sometimes I get infuriated with the F1 media. The headlines the other day were all “Austrian GP for 2013” after Turkey’s government refused to pay any of their hosting fee to Ecclesone. I have to admit Helmut Marko muddied the water, because prior to his comments I was scornful that such a plan was possible.
Anyway, having done a bit of research today, it appears when Dietrich Mateschitz applied to refurbish the old A-Ring circuit in Austria, local and regional protests were loud indeed. The owner of Red Bull was frustrated as he attempted to pursue his plans to build a giant motor sports complex along with an airport.
The result of the environmental lobbying meant an eventual very much slimmed down Red Bull Ring with strict rules on the number’s allowed to attend and the noise levels that can be generated. The most recent DTM race held there exceeded the decibel limits for noise that are legal, need I say more about how much more noisy F1 cars are?
Further, the spectator limits are 25,000 a day and the local environmental officer when questioned about the possibility of an F1 race being held there said to MotorSport, “”I can not imagine it personally, I am employed to ensure compliance with such regulatory matters. What do they think, they can pay me to turn a blind eye?”
Well sir, that’s the usual F1 way. Seems like Marko was talking out of his hat.
Rubens likely to leave Indycar : Rubens Barrichello says he is “torn” between staying in IndyCar next year or returning to his native Brazil to contest the premier Stock Car series full time. Barrichello made his INDY debut in 2012 but is believed to have run into sponsor trouble as he pushed for a second consecutive season next year.
In the meantime, he has contested a few rounds of Brazil’s Stock Car series, and according to Agencia Estado news agency, Barrichello is now considering a full season in 2013. “I’m torn between INDY and Stock Car,” says Rubens. “I think we will make an announcement soon.”
He admitted he would have liked another season in the USA, in order to build on the lessons learned in 2012. “I’d like to put into practice what I’ve learned, “But it may be nearing the time to go home, for my children. Anyway, I’m in a good situation, because I am able to choose as far as how I work”.
Brazilian driver Caca Bueno has also claimed on Sportv television that Barrichello will indeed contest the full 2013 Stock Car championship.
On this day in F1, Dec 11th
Michael Schumacher tried to prove he was faster than a speeding plane when he took on an Eurofighter Typhoon in his Ferrari F2003 at the Baccarini military airport near Rome. However, he lost 2-1 over three distances – 600,900 and 1200 metres. The Ferrari boasted a top speed of 370kph against the fighter’s 2450kph; the jet, which was stripped of weapons, weighed in at 21,000 kilos against the Ferrari’s 600.
The race was organised to mark 100 years of manned flight and the 50th anniversary of the death of Tazio Nuvolari. Nuvolari performed a similar stunt in 1931 when he raced his Alfa Romeo 8C2300 against a Caprioni 100 biplane. “It was a very interesting experience,” said Schumacher after the races. “I was glad to be here today – it was very impressive.”
China’s first F1 grand prix, provisionally scheduled for March 28 1999,was dropped after the FIA decided that the Zuhai circuit organisers needed another year to finalise arrangements. In fact, it was not until 2004 that the race took place.
The world’s first motorshow, the Exposition Internationale de Velocipede et de Locomotion Automobile, opened in Paris.
(This page will be updated throught the day – as F1 news breaks)
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