Vettel top European honour, Mallya short of cash, F1 teams collaborate? Sochi on track (haha), Petrov in box seat, Maldonado marries, Top 15 overtakes of 2012

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Not a lot happeneing today, but we’ll soldier on.

Vettel Honours: In a poll amongst 26 of the European News agencies, Sebastian Vettel has been voted European Sportsperson of the year. Here’s the top 10.

1st Sebastian Vettel (D/Motor Racing) 137
2nd Bradley Wiggins (GB/Cycling) 130
3rd Mo Farah (GB/Athletics) 126
4th Novak Djokovic (Ser/Tennis) 108
5th Andres Iniesta (Sp/ Soccer) 103
6th Andy Murray (GB/Tennis) 67
7th Christiano Ronaldo (Por/Soccer) 66
8th Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Ho/Swimming) 55
9th Roger Federer (Swi/Tennis) 50th
10th Sebastien Loeb (Fr/Rally Driving) 47

Mallya lacks of cash: It may be that Vijay’s Kingfisher Airline is being strangled by enemies he has made over the years. A revival plan was submitted to the aviation regulator as requested by India’s grounded carrier but was refused as it was not backed by a clear funding proposal, the country’s aviation minister said.

Kingfisher has not flown since October and has estimated debts of $2.5 billion, owing money to banks, airports, tax authorities, plane leasing companies and its staff. Plenty there with a reason to have fallen out of love with India’s once “King of good times”.

Not only has the airline revivial plan not been backed with clear funding proposals, neither has the $80m spend on the Force India team announced by Mallya. I said at the time, Bernie was sniffing around to see which teams were healthy and who was in trouble – and that announcement was a ‘keep Bernie happy’ call – get him to Sign us up to Concorde and release some cash – then we’ll worry about the rest.

2014 will require teams to collaborate: You first reaction may be, ‘are you crazy’, but Cyril Abiteboul speaking to Autosport thinks that the scale of the challenge teams face when new engines arrive in 2014 means that going it alone could be a hindrance. “Potentially this breakthrough will require some partnership between the teams, and that is not only for teams like us.”

He continues, “I can feel that it will be just like in the automotive business when you want to produce a new product: you try to share the platform – that is what Renault, Alpine and Caterham will be doing [for a new sportscar for 2015]. “You want to be more efficient, you want to be more competitive – and therefore you work in collaboration. I think the same thing that will have to happen in F1.”

“It is a bit new to F1, because the teams also have to compete against each on the track, but I think the future will be about collaboration – and 2014 will urge us into considering more collaboration.” I’m not really sure what the Frenchman is on about because we have collaboration now. KERS systems and gearboxes are bought by smaller teams as a ready-made package, maybe he’s talking about customer cars?

Apparently not. “There is a limit and in particular we don’t want customer cars, but between no collaboration at all and customer cars, there is a compromise to be found. I am sure we can do better than we do right now – both for Caterham and F1 in general.”

I’m still not sure what exactly is the purpose for this call to arms of the F1 brethren from Cyril – but it is the festive season – so we’ll put it down to that.

Sochi on schedule: It appears we are scraping the bottom of the barrel reporting that the Russian F1 circuit developers have announced 18 months out from the inaugural Russian GP that everything is ons schedule.

Similarly Maldonado gets married: apparently he was a lacking a little in grip after clipping the flower arrangement and nudging into the vicar before ending up off course in the wrong pews. Nothing new there then – Oh well, roll on 2013 eh Frank?

Petrov awaiting the call: You have to love Vitaly’s manager, Oksana Kossatschenko. She lurches from hope to despair back into a positive mindset again, when others would steadfastly stick with the line they know everyone wants to hear. I reported a couple of months back she was saying Petrov had no chance of an F1 drive in 2013 and should look at other options.

Of course it was he not Heikki who saved Caterham’s blushes by pinching 10th place from Marussia in the dying laps of the final race of 2012 – from ironically Charles Pic who was driving his last race for Marussia before moving to Caterham.

Anyway back to Oksana who asserts to the Russian media that any idea of her charge driving for Force India is fantasy, however she believes “From our side we have done everything necessary, It’s up to Caterham, to make a decision. Vitali is among the possible candidates, but somehow the are currently six drivers [in the frame].”

So we have Petrov, Bruno Senna, Heikki Kovalainen, Giedo van der Garde and Luiz Razia who are still competing to drive alongside Pic – not sure who the 6th is Oksana but still. Playing the sentimental card, “I think following the Brazilian Grand Prix we have better chance to stay where we are – mainly because it was Vitaly which ensured the all important 10th place for the team” Kossatschenko hints.

I really can’t call this one – there are pro’s and cons around the various drivers. Most people would say Heikki is the best driver, but I have to question his commitment and determination towards the end of the season together with his performance on the track relative to his team mate.

Top 15 overtakes of 2012: Here’s a little compilation you may like. We disagree with Ant Davidson who gives it to Kimi – when viewed from above, the Massa move is quite increible – for many reasons.

On this day in F1, Dec 27th

1900: Be careful what you wager
Prolific pre-war racer Hans von Stuck was born in Warsaw, Poland. Despite many successes on the circuits for Auto Union he was better known for his domination of hill climbing earning him the nickname of “Berghonig” or “King of the Mountains”. He also once won a race driving backwards after reversing the gearbox in his car. In 1926 Count Szichy, an Austrian playboy, bet that Stuck’s Austro-Daimler couldn’t match his Bugatti for speed. Stuck accepted the bet on the condition that the prize was the Count’s wife. Stuck won the wager and the new couple remained together until her death in 1931.

In an era of huge salaries, 34-year-old German Heinz-Harold Frentzen bucked the trend by taking a substantial pay cut to sign a one-year deal with Arrows. It was still believed to be worth around £500,000. Frentzen was sacked midway through the previous season by Jordan after a poor performance at the British Grand Prix. “No matter. I want to race,” Frentzen said. “It’s my passion.” It turned out to be a mixed blessing as the Arrows team went bust before the season was out.

Jean_Christophe Boullion was born in Saint-Brieuc, France. Although he originally signed as a Williams test driver for 1995 he was loaned to Sauber as a replacement for Karl Wendlinger for most of the season. Whilst he scored three championship points he rarely matched the performance of his team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen.



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16 responses to “Vettel top European honour, Mallya short of cash, F1 teams collaborate? Sochi on track (haha), Petrov in box seat, Maldonado marries, Top 15 overtakes of 2012

  1. Little correction there, Sir. Stuck’s nickname was “Bergkönig”. ‘Berghonig’ means ‘mountain honey’. Not sure that one would be fitting 😉

  2. Agree with you … the Massa move is more incredible in the sense that he is pushed but keeps control and still makes the move..
    Kingfisher is an HRT in coming as they no loger fly and they wont fly again and no one is interested in buying them out even for a symbolic rupee
    As for the Catheram drive, i dont believe it will turn out to be a race of talent but a race of cash… i see young Diego Van Der Garde in the seat next to Pic for 2013
    As far as Force India is concerned sources suggest they already signed someone but not announced yet… i personnally think Adrian Sutil will be there next year… lets wait and hope for an announcement from the ‘king of good times’
    By the way, i wish you guys a very happy new year

  3. Mallya received 3.1billion$ from Dieago.So,i don’t think that mallya statement of pumping 80million$ wasn’t to get money from Bernie.

    • Not quite true. Part of it was in new shares issued in US. Plus Diageo have to build up a holding of 30% before they can then ask all shareholders for additional share issue. This is expected to be completed Feb. then there’s the small matter of $2.5bn of debt in the airline to take care of. He’ll make no personal cash from the deal. Forbes have him worth $800m most of which is illiquid assets. He doesn’t have $80m of cash to invest in FI

      • he has 42.5% stake in the team that means if money is invested in the team then he needs to pay 42.5% of the money which is 34mil in this case.

        • No offense intended but if you type Mallya into the search box on this site, you’ll see all the articles written over the past 3 months. We’ve been following him closely.

          His pals at Sahara are also in big trouble – they have to pay back $4bn plus 15% interest to robbed Indian small time investors.

          What you assert is hardly ever the case – ie the investors equally cough up the cash required. For various reasons it is normative for one to put in a bigger proprtion than their share holding and therefore increases their % stake in the business.

    • I heard it was a done deal 3 weeks ago, but we had no announcement. Since then I Admiral, UK car insurance, were in play… but nothing has been announced. Admiral may be requesting a complete change in livery and Lotus are trying to bring both to the party.

  4. he has 42.5% stake in the team that means if money is invested in the team then he needs to pay 42.5% of the money which is 34mil in this case.

  5. It is very interesting. I thought it was a joke i.e. Grosjean will stay, so team need good crash insurance 😉 If it’s true difficult to see where the team wants to squeeze them. Now the car is full. Even after throwing Lotus, genii BE and other unprofitable stickers important part of the free space will buy Coca-Cola.

  6. Out of interest, any idea how healthy Caterham F1’s finances are in general? Are three pointless years hitting them hard?

  7. Caterham fnanse is unhealthly. Team has big losses from operations even with 10 place wcc. QPR too. -25m£ in 2011 and results aren’t predictive any good. Mr. Fernandes sporting passions require deep pockets.

    • And for now he’s guaranteed to fund a certain level of deficit. Not quite the normative definition of ‘within budget’ I agree, but they are not at the mercy of hostile lenders.

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