Opening Night ~ “F1 & The Musical Chairs”: Starring – Zetsche the Godfather, Lauda the Hatchet man, Toto the Wolff in sheep’s clothing, Fry the Mole, Jordan the Whistle Blower, Brawn as the ousted King and Paddy Lowe as the Ghost of Christmas to come

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TJ13 internship: It has been suggested to me that I get some help with the site, as I can spend easily 6 hours some days reading, researching writing and honing the material. One area I thought of is the, ‘On this day’ feature. When I’m busy, this suffers and I believe some of you quite like it.

This could be a good project for under graduates studying journalism or media studies to include in their portfolio of work. Ideally a few helping hands would be good – and if we had 7, it would only be 1 day a week each would need to provide something. I can brief on the topic if necessary, and then the apprentice TJ13’s could go and find video and source information, write it up and use contemporary information to bring it relevant to the here and now. For someone who is feeling lethargic – they can have Feb 29th.

Anyway, if you or someone you know are up for this they can email thejudge13@hotmail.co.uk. Please – I am not sinking here and can manage for now without, so if you are a busy person and can’t commit fully I’d rather you not offer. Chasing up material that is late will be worse than just delivering it.

Thanks: To Rosberg on the forums.autosport for posting a TJ13 link – over 125 new visitors from there today. Also to MikeV1987 for his posting on PlanetF1.

A busy day for Lauda Watch

The juggernaut that is the established F1 media is swinging into action today on the Paddy Lowe..in, Brawn and Fry..out story this afternoon. There appears to be little consensus, even though a number of the established journalists have had a telephone conference call with Toto Wolff.

I will attempt to ‘aggregate’ the opinions of key journalists whose opinions I respect and have given their opinions in an attempt to deliver TJ13 readers (an myself) some understanding of the complex plot in the latest Mercedes play.

Adam Cooper who has been around the block for over 20 years appears to have his own Lauda watch and comments on the ongoing extensive Mercedes AMG ‘management re-shuffle’ as follows. “Speculation that Ross Brawn could be a victim of a coup is astonishing given his record. But with Niki Lauda anything is possible…”.

A leaky ship

The mouthpiece of Mercedes frequent leaks, Eddie Jordan – who is now apparently the BBC’s chief F1 analysts, has this to say, “”Paddy Lowe is going to Mercedes and it would appear that Brawn and Fry are on their way out, and Lowe will be there in a very senior capacity”. Yet Cooper reports, Wolff telling him, ““This is speculation that is coming up in some of the media. I think I would be aware about that – it’s all speculation. Ross is there, he’s part of the leading team, and I hope Ross is going to stay as long as possible. So this is the current situation.”

One TJ13 reader was asking about Toto Wolff’s shareholding. He tells us regarding his 10% stake in Williams, “For the moment I’m going to keep those shares. I have a responsibility as a shareholder. I’ve got a wonderful opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with Mercedes to be involved on a daily basis but I can’t let everybody else down behind me as shareholders.”

The events of the past 24 hours apparently have all transpired since the turn of the year, “It has happened pretty quickly, actually. I have been involved with Mercedes for many years in DTM, so I have known people across the company for quite some time. But actually things turned out to progress pretty quickly – so a couple of weeks at the maximum.”

Lauda innocent

Most surprising is that Wolfe denies this was initiated or transacted by Niki Lauda. “It started because I have DTM connections [with Mercedes] and through that a came the conversation about the situation with Mercedes in F1. It wasn’t Niki.” So the Austrian hatchet man has no blood on his hands this time.

Toto was also asked about the rumours that Paddy Lowe was about to join Mercedes F1 team, he replied “I think Paddy’s a recognised person in the paddock, he has been with McLaren for 15 or 20 years, and I’ve read it in the paper, that’s all I can tell you. Obviously in F1 there’s always a lot of speculation about personnel or people joining or not joining. There’s nothing I can tell you at that stage. I’ve read it like you have read it.”

‘At this stage’…Mmm.

The mole unearthed

Jordan on the BBC is adamant the Paddy Lowe move will happen, he claims “Lowe won’t be technical director; he’ll be more senior than that. But he won’t be called team principal either, because that will be Wolff. But Lowe will effectively be running the team on a day-to-day basis.”

I know if I was Toto, I’d make flushing out Eddie Jordan’s embedded mole at Mercedes AMG my number 1 priority. This may happen as a matter of course because when asked about Nick Fry’s future, Toto’s response was, ““we are looking into that situation” which doesn’t sound promising for the alleged underground digger anyway.

But what of Ross Brawn? James Allen asked Wolff directly could he confirm he was not going to replace Brawn.

A cunning plan

Here’s the answer. “I haven’t been in Brackley and had conversations with Ross. I admire what Ross has done. I need to sit down and understand the structure….Ross’ track record is fantastic…I need some time to understand the situation and to take time and analyse. It would be foolish to speak about replacing anyone. They are good people and that’s where I am right now.”

Don’t know about you, but I’m not hearing ‘NO’.

The King is usurped

Ted Kravitz take on the matter is that Lauda, whilst given the title ‘non-executive chairman’ is actually acting as an ‘executive chairman’ – decision maker – with the blessing of Stuttgart. Kravitz understands that Lauda has made it clear to Brawn, that Ross reports to him.

Wolff’s new role is ‘executive director’ which Ted suggests is team principle in all but name. Further argues that Lauda has been given a ‘new broom’ mandate from the Daimler-Benz board – and that this extends to Brawn and 1 of his 3 technical directors – Bob Bell, Geoff Willis or Aldo Costa.

It may well be that Ross Brawn’s future is not dependent on the truth of the Paddy Lowe rumour. He may have kept his head down on the Lauda appointment, but will someone of Brawn’s experience in F1 want to job-share with Toto Wolff – or even keep the seat warm for Paddy? I suggest not.

My read would be that Brawn will leave – resign or be sacked (the legal matters around his pay off will determine how long this takes) – and if Williams don’t snap him up then Sir Frank wants his head examining. If I was Frank Williams I’d be quietly smiling to myself – he gets to lose a relatively unknown F1 team boss and in return could recruit Ross Brawn.

Farce or Tragedy?

And what of Lewis in all this? Surely his comments about looking forward to working with Brawn indicate he was a big part of Hamilton’s decision to leave Mercedes.

So why should we not be surprised at all this. I commented at the time of Lauda’s appointment there would be carnage at Mercedes – he’s got previous. In 2001 Jaguar’s results were woeful, and this led to Niki’s appointment in the middle of the year.

According to Wikipedia, “this did not help team morale, with the team sliding further back in the field. An abortive attempt by Lauda to bring McLaren’s ex-technical director Adrian Newey to Jaguar further destabilised the team, and conflict between both Bobby Rehal (team boss) and Lauda led to Rahal’s resignation”.

Having re-organised the team, 2002 was even worse under Lauda’s stewardship and lack of confidence from Ford meant funding was reduced and eventually Lauda and 70 other staff were made redundant. Red Bull then  bought the team for the reported princely sum of £1.

If Paddy Lowe has any sense, he’ll do a phantom impression and disappear back inside the bowels of the MTC – because the opening night at the theatre has revealed the latest play to be either a Mercedes farce or a tragic coup. Using yesterday’s analogy, maybe buses in Brackley come in 6’s or 9’s.

What is clear – is that this crazy game of musical chairs is not yet over.

 

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63 responses to “Opening Night ~ “F1 & The Musical Chairs”: Starring – Zetsche the Godfather, Lauda the Hatchet man, Toto the Wolff in sheep’s clothing, Fry the Mole, Jordan the Whistle Blower, Brawn as the ousted King and Paddy Lowe as the Ghost of Christmas to come

  1. Lot’s of careful non-denial denials by Toto, it seems to me. INcluding the cunning “I’ve read it [the Paddy Lowe rumour] in the paper, that’s all I can tell you” Not “this is just a rumour with no truth in it”…

    “All I can tell you” doesn’t mean there isn’t more – maybe he’s just not allowed to say it yet.

    I’m concerned about Mercedes, though – this type of bun-fight/musical chairs surely will take some time to pay-off in results – if at all; at the very least, they have to work out what chemistry they have together when all the dust settles.

    Still, at least the 2013 car must be pretty much done, so Lewis may be ok there… 😉

    • I just added something I forgot in the original post – this has echoes of Jaguar.

      I remember joking when I set up Lauda watch when he was appointed – some form of carnage would ensue – but if I’d been asked to write a fantasy script of what may be – this would trump it.

      • Great comparison with Jaguar particularly if Paddy Lowe doesn’t sign just like the failed Newey coupe.

  2. Brawn back to Williams where he started would be a natural and would help fill a hole left by Wolff and Gillian’s departures.

    Now if Pastor manages to get himself disqualified or the Chavez funding stops he can be replaced by an old 7 time world champion and maybe the duo of Brawn and him can do what that mess of a Brackley team wouldn’t let them. Dream on….

    • Love it – Bottas packed off to Brackley – and the return of Schumacher.

      Hey – NOTHING – is an unreasonable suggestion at the moment – “Bernie gives all his cash away” is my next headline.

    • Wow what a scenario! I would love to see that eventuate.

      “At this stage” — we’re in a golden age of public relations management. Wheelbarrow-loads of wily weasel words wedded with wretched wafers of truth: they wander into press releases, whomping, whacking and wreaking havoc. By the third paragraph, a wanton widdershins whirlpool of waffle spurts you not on a whim but a beached whale, windblown and witless! Of course, you’re none the wiser.

      Weary, you wonder, “Where went wholesome writing?” Why, your wish is wanderlust.

  3. Can I put my name down for a future TJ13.com disinterment?

    You know, just in case, be a right laugh expense my insurance people. .

    Internship, I think was the word you are after!

    Do we get free soda?

    ~ joj

          • I only hope! When I took a break earlier, hit the power on button and Little Nicky (Adam Sandler in a kind of devil and underworld movie spoof) was rolling on the box. These coincidences are I guess coincidences . .

            Inherit The Wind, with Spencer Tracey, has to be the best. How long is a day? As a little boy at prep school, I was set that as a summer assignment, and they had a early Philips 2000 video cassette player. I don’t know if it was the sheer geek thrill of such a machine, to which I was allowed access during summer break, if I cared to knock on the library door, (they gave me a key thereafter) or the actual movie. But, but the time fall term came, I had it memorized, line by line. Our chaplain thereafter asserted I was put on earth to question his faith. .

            But, hmm, the Scopes Trial was in fact a setup. It makes me think of modern pseudo – morals as to the internet and copyright. The fair argument as to such matters is Darwinian, as it is a function of our lineage as far as we can prove it. But copyright creationists do not believe that a melody might have been imagined before them, they’d trademark the very piano scales is they could. In Creationist Copyright, everything a person ever thinks or recalls they think, or may record, is unique of itself, sacrosanct and inviolable, brought into this world by a miracle. Spencer Tracey, playing Drummond (Clarence Darrow in the actual trial, Darrow is always worth a read) pins it down to the cycle of the sun: until when was the sun created, and before that, how long was the day? In the arguments of specious copyright assertionists, they had a infinite night in which to invent every human experience, every note and scale and theme and melody and every song, because in that infinite night, they evolved alone, untouched by other mankind, and so they could in no possible way been influenced by another artist. Absolutism versus the fecundity brought by the energy of daylight. Eternal nights and wilful loneliness, versus warmth of a dew spelled dawn and the sight of humanity’s face. It’s strange to me, to imagine the puritan punishments those who chose their uniqueness in the eternal day without the sun, how they pursue the riches of whom they do not admit exist, and could not see without the darkest sunglasses, if they ventured.

            There is I think much in common with copyright protagonists and the superstitions of half baked religion. Both have a ability to deny their own scriptures: I never find a copyright fundamentalist who can cite me a case or the Langham Act or describe the theory of adjudication, or even the basics of the law, just as I have all too often found a man who would sell you a religion has read little scripture.

            How I got on to IP law via religion, I am not sure, but Hi There, IP Trolls, Petrarch called and wants to be paid for a license for use of The Dark Ages, 1602, The Inception. You know they revised licensing with the Sonny Baronius Act of 1588, and the interest on the royalties is $$192,7,8,37,9648,7,4948,476485,476547,547,46 + sales tax and triple punitive damages per unique historical reference to History™. .

            Tim Berners Lee wants his “world wide web back”, too. Says you’ve been breaking it.

          • LOL, Rpaco and TJ, yup, I wake about 3am naturally, long habit of being up for the Asia markets open, and not needing to do diddly lately, and the mornings otherwise dark anyhow, have been springing to life and downing pints of espresso before I realize it’s not really _our morning just yet!

            I’ve just lately got a real bee in my bonnet about the philosophy and morals of original writing or art, and the above was meant to be a parody, but came out as a soap box polemic, oops 🙁

            When I was barely a teen, I once took a absurd extreme position, because something in me wanted to write: the idea was that if I read no other authors’ works, ‘d not be influenced, and so maintain my absolute integrity! Oh, dear . . I was probably just motivated to find a excuse why to not do the required reading..

            I think the only takeaway from the above spiel, is it is sadly a truism, I just never have people argue with me over rights or copyrights (who is arguing something for themselves) who have been tainted by the dastardly imperfection of precedent or law.

  4. I sense that Mercedes are covering themselves in the event the team continues to fail. While both Wolff and Lauda have some previous connection to Mercedes neither are Mercedes men as Haug was. When Haug was essentially in charge the failure of the team reflected directly on Mercedes, with Wolff and Lauda running and owning part of the team, Mercedes are in a position to reap the glory but blame Wolff and Lauda if it fails. If this story reveals anything it’s that Mercedes lack medium – long term commitment to F1 as team owners. I’ve long believed that Mercedes was better suited as a technical partner than a team owner.

    And this brings us to an area I would like to have more info on – the financial structure of the team. The last report I read was that Mercedes valued the F1 operation at around $300M. if as a public company Mercedes sold it at assessed value Wolff and Lauda would have had to come up with around $120M, or are there investors we don’t know about. If they didn’t sell it at assessed value then it appears they are unloading part of the team. Mercedes were largely responsible for funding the team with some sponsorship from Petronas. It would be hard to believe that Mercedes will continue to fund 100% of the team now, and as the teams budget was around $150M you have to wonder where Wolff and Lauda are going to get the $60M a year their ownership would require they put in. And Paddy Lowe may not be only one wishing he was still in Woking.

    • Most insightful. I had about 6 articles I wanted to write today, but time defeated me. I don’t have all the dettils of Mercedes F1 finances, but I can assure you Niki Lauda has not paid $30m for his 10%.

      The heart of my article was that Mercedes are already devaluing on paper the incremental value they attributed to the team tey created when they sold 40% to Aabar.

      I saw another comment suggesting brawn and Fry still had shares, this is not the case, Diamler in a secondary purchase bought them out about a year after they took their 50% stake.

      Daimler Benz paid Brawn et al $100m and this is what the investment stands them at from a share capital investment viewpoint.

      They may have lumped a lot more at the team, but clearly they see this as a sunk investment.

      These are the actions of an investor moving out medium term – and if my ‘de ja vu’ re: Jaguar becomes reality – it could be £1 is all the team is worth at some future point.

      To sell anything in life, you need a buyer.

      • I’d go one step further and say that Lauda for sure, and perhaps even Toto, didn’t actually pay for their “investment.” In fact, this is what they are being paid in return for their service.

        • Could be – if that is indeed the case, having been though some acquisitions and mergers at the sharp end – Daimler are signaling they’re off.

          This in turn means Punch and Judy will be desperate to make things work… as they have a freebie and need to create value.

  5. For me the fact that Wolff hasn’t spoken to Brawn says it all. Clearly the Mercedes uppermanagement lost its patience with Brawn and Haug and decided to look for someone else ‘on the market’. I cannot imagine that if Mercedes would want to keep Brawn next to Wolff that they would have hired the latter without organizing at least one conversation between the two men…

  6. As far as I can tell and unless they subsequently sold them, Ross and Nick between then still own 25% approx of the shares which they hung on to at the time of the Merc buyout of BrawnGP.

    • They sold out completely in a secondary deal, I don’t have chapter and verse here – but Aabar got most of their shares.- Daimler the rest

    • Aah, The Romance – love it. Welcome anyway VFFLW – I believe it is your first comment.

      Feel free to continue – the regulars are well trained and don’t bite 😉

      • Hi TJ13, yes, my first comment. Love what you are doing here, a refreshing change all round, also like the light text on a dark background.

        I’m just wondering whether this is just like re-arranging the furniture on the titanic, or whether things are going to settle down.

        Must be a bit un-nerving for Hamilton signing with one set of figureheads only to find a different set come time to race, but then that brings to mind the line in The Who song, meet the new boss, same as the old boss!!

        Anyway it will all sort itself out in the wash I suppose…

        • Thank you. It’s strange, I really wanted Mercedes to do well, not particularly because of Lewis, but I now realise for Brawn and Haug.

          I’m starting to not care over the past 24 hours. I know F1 is a rough old place but I have little time for the likes of Lauda and Marko in F1 management.

          And who is Toto?

          • Who is Toto?! I think he “Blessed the rain down in Africa!”. Is that not enough TJ13?

    • I’m a Ferrari fan, and i’d love to have the great banana eater back, but in what position? Domenicali’s? I don’t see that happening to be honest, but Brawn loves Italy, the food, the wine, the weather, maybe he’s ok to be a consultant.
      Or just retire and join Byrne in Thailand 😉

  7. Whatever the situation, with Ross Brawn leaving or staying, I find it hard to imagine he is a happy bunny with all this new bosses, etc, arriving on the scene. Before, he had Haug to approve his ideas, and now he has Wolf and Lauda to ask, for anything other than going to the toilet. Plus, they will be continually looking over his shoulder at his every move. As I think has been hinted at by TJ13 before, it has all the hallmarks of head office sending in people, because they are not happy with how one of their local branches is being run. Brawn hired Willis, Costa, and Bell, as people he thought would help the team’s efforts, but now he’s being told who has been employed, and also who is being fired, no doubt. If true, the hiring of Lowe, will totally alter Brawn’s planned structure for the team. I find it difficult to believe he will just go with the flow, and carry on as per normal, assuming his continued employment, of course.

    • Hi F1Ray

      Welcome – you’ve been here for some time if you remember that article from back in November.

      I can’t see Brawn staying. I know at times I write in comic and dramatic style – but I don’t just make it up without reason.

      Since the appointment of Lauda, Mercedes AMG f1 was doomed from a management point of view. This is the most ridiculous turn of events imaginable.

      Who is TOTO after all? Some bloke who before Adam Parr was evicted, hardly anybody knew.

      I have nothing against the Lauda by the way, I was watching F1 when he was cruelly burned.

      But life is what it is – and if you put yourself up as the saviour of mankind (or even Mercedes) you will be scrutinised appropriately.

      • I really agree with your “who is TOTO, anyway?” sentiment.

        There’s far too much of the sense that we should know that they know from the usual F1 scribbling crowd, when it comes to minority investors, as if they actually matter and the scribes have so much greater insight. I think that happens wholesale, and it’s a wonderful thing to reverse, to turn inside out: the classical F1 scribe crowd bigging up basically who have no control and are statistically on the list of the first to loose their investment (not only in F1, but stat wise in any business) and so both reader and minority investor is sold a crock. Difference being, the investor was sold the crock already. About nobody actually makes money out of equity in teams.

  8. “One TJ13 reader was asking about Toto Wolff’s shareholding. He tells us regarding his 10% stake in Williams,”

    The last financial statement I saw from Williams indicated that Wolff owned 16% of the company.

      • I think he bought in further, when there was a “press” effort to slag off the stock, and it dropped sharply. I bought a few more then, because it was so obvious where the signals were coming from. I actually believe that was criminal manipulation. About the time AP got the shrift.

        With the volume traded, it’s pretty hard to get out of Williams’ stock, incidentally. Old fashioned buy and hold guy here, so chillin’ over the issue . .

        You could go further, tin foil hat mode, and suggest that with the thin trading, weaker hands had to be prised open by “bad news” for purchases to be made . . but best to leave that up to an intrepid young examiner / regulator who doesn’t value their career.

  9. From the start I was really worried about Lauda’s appointment. He’s screwing up everything and I bet Bernie’s got a hand in all this with his heir apparrent Wolff (although I do like Toto). What Mercedes need is Lauda out and spend more. Simple as that. As for Lewis, I bet he’s got a clause somewhere. He might back to Macca for 2015 already if things go tits up in Merc.

  10. This reminds me a lot of football… Some teams have a constant stream of new managers as for some reason the owner thinks that if they don’t see immediate success the manager is useless. Then you look at Manchester United who aren’t the best funded by any means but have a long term manager who has been allowed to develop a system over a long period of time to the point where the success comes easily.

    Mercedes has been recruiting almost constantly since they took over. The people they have brought in haven’t had time to have an effect before someone else comes along and tries to impose their ideas.

    They need to pick five people and stick with them. One to lead engine development, one to lead chassis development, one aerodynamicist, one race team manager and one overall team manager. Any more than this and the direction will still be lacking and the results won’t come.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t see the results coming, they finish 5th or 6th this coming season and the board decide to pull out in 2014, supplying engines only.

      • There’s so much press lately over the social impact of soccer’s high finance and ticket prices, I’m surprised more is not echoed about the loss of so much motorsport television coverage. It’s mentioned, for sure – ask Rpaco to contribute a piece* – but I’m in the Stuck With Sky crowd, and have the footy bundled only because you have to get that to get either the Tennis or the Baseball, forget which. Bit it worked out fine, because one of my pals is really into his footy. Nota very bene that my bill is split three ways now, and we make good use of the ability to watch on a PC and iPad, else I’d never have added those channels. I do have to watch more soccer matches socially, as a result, but good company makes that okay. My point being, if I grew up going to matches at the weekend, in the stands, watching my local club, I’d have a different view, but oddly the silly price of Sky has drawn a few of my buddies together as we hang out and cook up, and it’s a good thing not to be isolated, especially in mind looking after my mother, 82 this year, whereas it’s so easy to become a island in London.

        *That would be one heck of a guest rant, if you’ll allow a soap box. I’d like to read.

        • Happy for guest articles – as long as people can accept no, if I decide – or I may make final editing ‘adjustments’

          I know everything isn’t referenced etc in my writings, but in current news, and fast paced stories its not a priority.

          I do take time and effort of sources and declaring them when writing a feature

  11. Looking at this one from my female point of view, why dosn’t Ross just walk away with his incredibly well earned dignity intact, he must have more money than he will ever need, he has a very supportive wife and family he could finally spend more time with, and let’s not forget he had a heart related health scare last season . . . run Ross run, don’t wait around to be undermined by Lauda, there’s a whole new life waiting for you outside of F1.

    • Welcome silverfan – our lives our enhanced by a femanie point of view.

      Don’t worry for Ross though I have a sentimental place in my heart for the Brit who rescued the debacle that was the great Italian Ferrari.

      He will leave and not suffer the Lauda abuse or the Toto trite. And he will cast himslef upon the bosom of the finest gentleman you could ever meet – Sir Frank.

      And by doing so he will return to his first love – and be worshiped and adored as he truly deserves.

      I so love happy endings……..

  12. First Post on TJ13!
    I’ve been reading TJ13 ever since it was launched. Prior to TJ13 my daily F1 news appetite was provided by Autosport, F1Fanatic.co.uk and ESPNF1. I believe it was a link on F1Fanatic that first introduced me to TJ13. The first article I read on TJ13 had a fair amount of detail on the state of the Korean GP. None of the other news sites provided information with the same amount of depth, and as we all know, Autosport has limited the number of views allowed for their mediocre articles. So from that point onwards TJ13 has become a part of my daily routine as well as joesaward’s blog and somersf1. Now to bring things back to the present day, I’m starting to get pretty worried about LH’s move to MAMGP. Especially when I heard about the inception of Lauda into the team, a man who to be blatantly honest has not succeeded in managing any of the racing teams or businesses he’s been involved with. It’s very easy to be judgemental about someone you’ve read negative things about, but the reality is I’ve never met Lauda and would not know how I would personally feel about having to work with him. Although it must be said, he doesn’t really strike me as a people person and would probably struggle to engage with his employees, making it hard to give them a motivational push, as required in times where fastidious development is needed to stay in touch with the top teams. It’s quite hard to keep up with all the changes going on lately at the team and I’m sure you’re not the only one suffering from a headache from all these events judge. I just hope whatever structure they decide, that they finalise it as soon as possible, which will no doubt allow a smoother transition to testing and the first race. As long as they can provide LH with a mediocre car such as the F12, I’m sure he can fight for wins and silence everyone who doubted his move from VMM.

    By the way, loving the blog and hope it continues to be updated everyday with new and interesting content.

    • Thanks. No pressure eh? 😉 It’s funny, some things I find easier and quicker to write than others

      This took ages even though a lot of it was quotes. 6 hours all told, because stories were breaking left right and centre, twitter went mental and there was a mass of trite to weed out and then fiddling around trying to decide what was in – whilst trying to write an Adam Parr calls for EU to intervene story – calls for Concorde to be suspended. that on any other day would have been No.1, not heard it from anyone yet.

      Alonso: Killer of Bulls was a breeze as we’re the previous 2, even though there were hardly any quotes and all my construction.

      Any will do best I can. Again thanks.

  13. I have just been looking at the pics of Lewis’s visit to the Merc factory; he looks rather shell shocked. By now he must be wondering who the team will be.
    I would guess that one of the large factors in his (very unwise IMHO) decision to move to Merc would be the chance to work with Ross. I wonder how his contract was written. Still we though there would be a re-shuffle ay Merc a long time back as per my comments on Joe’s blog, a few weeks back, but little did we know, (Opening bars of Jeff Wayne’s “War of the Worlds” in background here) that the change would be so great.

  14. Wondering if the silence from Mr Brawn, is an indication of the “on his way out” story’s validity. Surely, the best way to silence the speculation would be for him to make an announcement, committing himself to the team and it’s future. I’ve not read anything to this end, although he may announce something after he’s had a proper chinwag with Mr Wolff. On a side note, if he had any previous doubts, I’m thinking Schumacher is now considering himself, lucky to be well out of it.

  15. A question ? Not directly related to Mercedes but ……. what’s happening with Audi ?

    The rumours were that they would enter in 2014 as an engine supplier until the rule change from an inline 4 to a V6.

    Haven’t heard anything about them since. Does anyone have any more information or gossip ?

    Cheers 🙂

  16. I was thinking more along the lines of whether Audi or Porsche might consider being involved in F1 as a manufacturer rather than just an engine supplier ?

    The VW board are very shrewd in their involvement in motorsport, and I was wondering, given the state of uncertanty about a number of F1 teams, whether they might just be sitting back and waiting to see the fallout ?

    Porsche especially have had an unusually low profile in motorsports in recent years ……

    • I think the Mercedes debacle goes to prove that manufacturers in F1 simply don’t work. Ferrari works because of the history. Other than that, they come and go and generally cause chaos while they are here.

      The sport needs the manufacturers as engine suppliers and technical partners, but as team owners? Leave it to the people who know what they are doing and only have that to worry about.

      I wonder, Ferrari aside, which manufacturer stayed in F1 longest? BMW, Honda, Renault, Toyota, all only lasted a handful of years. I guess going back Renault first time around seemed to be around for a while and my gut feeling is that they are one of the few manufacturers that actually ‘gets’ F1.

      As an aside, I wonder if this situation also spills over in to the Force India situation? Maybe the Merc funding for PDR is looking ropey or maybe there is a chance they will put more in to individual teams if they pull back the investment in the ‘factory’ team. Maybe Vijay is holding back on confirming Paul until the situation becomes clear and he knows if they’d be better off sucking up to Ferrari?

  17. Maybe your right Stephen, but I’m not sure I totally agree with some of your points. As you said, Ferrari aside, all the other manufacturers have come and gone fairly quickly.

    However, so have loads more non-manufacturer racing teams too. Only Williams and McLaren, along with Ferrari have had any long term involvement in F1. So I’m not sure about you saying that manufacturers don’t “get” F1 – it seems that most entrants to F1 don’t “get it” ?

    And IMO the only reason Ferrari works is because they have and still continue to get extra cash compared to all other F1 teams as a bribe to keep them competing.

    • In reply initially to Stephen, Ferrari doesn’t work because of their history. They work because Ferrari has always been a racing team first and foremost. The road car division only came into existence to pay for the racing activities.
      Enzo Ferrari was a racing man from the 20’s, that’s why when he sold Ferrari to Fiat in 1969, he gave over the road car division and he retained the race department.

      Manky, Ferrari proved conclusively before they hired Todt, Schumacher, Brawn and Byrne that having the biggest budget doesn’t mean success without the right people. They can be gifted the extra funds because of their historical significance, or their brand being so valuable around the world, but ultimately without the right infrastructure they will be nowhere.

      If anyone needs further evidence of how an F1 team should be run, between 1988 and 1993, Ferrari were run by anonymous Fiat exec’s. Previously it had been Enzo and after it was Montezemolo who empowered Mr Todt to make the necessary decisions.
      Look back through history, Ferrari, Neubauer, Chapman, Tyrrell, Williams, Dennis, Briatore and Todt. Everyone a leader with the foresight to direct the teams properly.

      • I totally agree with you on all points – especially about a team needing a leader with foresight.

        Mercedes apparently have two leaders now – neither of which seem to possess this talent ……

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