Follow thejudge13: Why not follow thejudge13 by email. Click on the button at the top right of the page to receive an email when (and only when) a new article hits the interweb.
I have now put 2 RSS feeds at the bottom of the right hand bar for those of you who know how to use them for updates.
From TJ13’s chambers: Having been stranded due to the UK’s inept capabilities in handling snow and then struck simultaneously by a telecoms service cut – NO INTERNET – I have finally made it back to the 21st century following a succesful rescue helicopter air lift by harness from TJ13 Towers.
So I will begin by covering the essentials and then expand the comments and threads of ideas later.
Wolff joins Mercedes: TJ13 has been suggesting all is not well at Williams for some time, the departure of Mark Gillan to ‘spend more time with his family’ as a story that has not yet run its full course. This time last year, Mr. Ecclestone was putting pressure on the historic British team to change their ways.
Referring to the promotion of Adam Parr to heir apparent of Sir Frank, Ecclestone suggested, “I don’t think they’ve done it the right way. The changes should have come from above, not from below. I think people like Toto Wolff should get more control,” added Ecclestone.
He was of course referring to Christian ‘Toto’ Wolff, a young Austrian businessman and former racer who had a minor team shareholding and of course Toto was involved in the management of Williams’ test driver Valtteri Bottas.
Of course history records Adam Parr ‘resigned’, Williams received a ‘signing on fee’ for the new Concorde agreement about a week later for over £25m and Toto stepped up to the plate. Here is the Mercedes announcement.
“Daimler AG plans to reorganize its Formula 1 activities. In this context, Daimler has signed a letter of intent with Austrian investor and motorsport manager Toto Wolff, according to which Wolff will acquire a significant minority interest in the Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd. (MGP) and will also head that company as its executive director. Furthermore, Niki Lauda, currently non-executive chairman of MGP, will also acquire a stake in the company. Together with Ross Brawn, Lauda and Wolff will complete the management of the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 racing team.”
Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the global car manufacturer promised last week there was ‘more to come’ and he explains the rationale. “As an entrepreneur, investor and motorsport manager, Toto Wolff has proven that this sport runs in his blood; at the same time, he is also well aware of the economic necessities of the business.
“With Toto Wolff, we have gained for our Formula 1 team not only an experienced motorsport specialist, but also a longstanding enthusiast of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Together with him and Niki Lauda, we will further develop our motorsport activities and guide our Silver Arrows into the next era.”
Toto, on throwing his hat into the ring with Brackley based F1 team comments, “Mercedes is one of the most important participants in motorsport worldwide. I am not only a big fan, but also a longstanding friend and enthusiast of the brand. I am looking forward to the challenge and, along with preparing for a successful racing season, also want to focus on the targeted promotion of new talent.
“I am leaving Williams on good terms and I will miss the team and friends I have made there. I’d also like to wish Frank and the whole of Williams the best of luck for the future.”
I believe Woff is getting 30% of the AMG team and Lauda 10%, which is of course the old Aarbar stake that Daimler bought last year following the Arabian sovereign fund’s disasterous gambling losses on the futures market in Mercedes Benz shares.
What is of note, is that there is no mention of Nick Fry in the statement. “Together with Ross Brawn, Lauda and Wolff will complete the management of the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 racing team. More to follow soon on that I suggest.
You have to love Sir Frank, one of the most gracious men I’ve ever met, and a credit to F1 history. He says of Toto, “He was a key support to me as Executive Director last season, deputising at a number of races when I was unable to attend. However, positions such as the one offered to him by Mercedes do not come around often.
Toto has a long history with them and I certainly was not going to stand in the way of him accepting this once in a lifetime opportunity. Toto will retain his shareholding in Williams and will always have a place at Grove but make no mistake; we will fight him hard on the racetrack! I am sure he will be a strong asset for Mercedes and on behalf of the whole team I would like to wish him the best of luck in his new role.
I’m lucky to have a very professional group of people around me and the Company’s Executive Committee will continue the work they have been doing to ensure a successful future for the business.”
I’ve heard this morning rumours that Adam Parr could be making a return to Williams, now that the tricky Concorde agreement has been signed and monies received. Adam was key in turning around the financial and organisational affairs for the historic Grove team that had threatened its extinction from F1 racing just 6 years ago.
In dark times for the historic British F1 marque he delivered sponsor development and management at a time when Williams as a racing team looked shambolic. Further he distilled out of the frenetic and disparate activities of an F1 team a concise macro view of how the team is functioning, or not as the case may be.
I was impressed with the simplicity of the eventual plan for Williams resuscitation, which now appears logical and obvious. However, the detail of the programme required effective organisational and collaborative skills which in a world where everyone has an opinion, is not easy to do.
However, there are those who believe Adam’s ‘tell all’ book, “The art of war: 5 years in F1” together with his recent offers to facilitate an new official F1 fans association have positioned him outside F1’s inner circle. Yet all is not well at Williams presently and those with Adam’s skill’s and F1 grounding are few and far between.
Let’s hope Sir Frank is not influenced again by the F1 politicking which at times drives F1 decision making that has no semblance of sanity or reason.
UPDATE: Williams share price fell today 2.83% – they’ve been much worse though
Other matters in brief
Of course today see’s the announcement that Timo Glock is on his way out of F1, probably to DTM. Mark Webber tweeted to Timo this morning, “you’ll be missed matey on the drivers parade and drivers meetings chats. One of the good guys, and never went to your head.
I saw a tweet from Buemi on Saturday that read, ” “Some important news very soon! A good week end to everyone!”
There is more news is filtering through abour Force India and it appears there is a good chance Di Resta could be out of a 2013 drive.
more soon on both matters.