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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 email@example.com. 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.”
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.