Ecclestone: Baa..who needs Concorde? Susie Wolff to ride upwards and onwards, Reveal #3

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The other Wolff: Toto may be ‘blessing the rain down in Brackley’ now, but Mrs. Wolff is stepping up her profile at Williams. The team announced today she will be the first to drive the FW35 in straight line aero tests before the Barcelona test next month. Williams are of course not launching their 2013 car before Jerez.

Williams announced, “Susie will be the first to get behind the wheel of the FW35 when she drives the car at Idiada next month, and will do the majority of aerodynamic testing this season. Prior to joining the Williams F1 Team Susie spent seven seasons driving in DTM and was twice nominated for the prestigious BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.”

Mike Coughlan (Technical Director) understandably eulogises, ‘’Susie has proved herself to be a valuable addition to our driver roster and her feedback during simulator sessions is second to none. As a result we will be stepping up her role this year and I’m looking forward to the progress we can make with Susie’s input in conjunction with that of Pastor and Valtteri.’’

Think what you like, but I suspect we may see the lovely Susie in a Practice 1 session this year. You heard it first on TJ13 😉

Future Ferrari: No this is not a TJ13 reveal. I don’t remember where I found this over the weekend, but it sits nicely between 2 stories

Concorde: This story follows on rather well from our guest article from Rpaco

The original purpose of the Concorde agreement was to provide TV companies, sponsors and race promoters with confidence that all the teams will turn up to each event. This guaranteed a level of exposure/coverage and was then monetised as income for F1. The Concorde agreement was VITAL to Ecclestone’s drive to escalate the income to Formula 1.

FOM’s CEO has been preaching for some time the message that ‘Concorde 2013-20 is signed’, yet over the weekend it has emerged this may not in fact be the case. “We don’t need the Concorde Agreement signed,” said Ecclestone, “It doesn’t matter to me whether we have got the Concorde Agreement or not.” 

In rather lucid form, F1’s CEO explains 

“The Concorde Agreement is really made up of two sections. We have already dealt with the financial section with the teams. It is all done so it is a case of the regulations which change all the time. It’s a case really of how you change the regulations.”

I’ll let Bernie explain further. “The Concorde Agreement is really made up of two sections. We have already dealt with the financial section with the teams. It is all done so it is a case of the regulations which change all the time. It’s a case really of how you change the regulations. What affects the teams more than anything is the technical regulations. It is the technical regulations which could put them out of business.”

So when Bernie was telling us that ‘Concorde is now signed by Mercedes’ et al, he meant FOM had negotiated a bi-lateral agreement with a team over their financial remuneration. These agreements differ from team to team, with Marussia out in the colds and Ferrari getting a deal that pays them more than the WCC winner even if they finish 3rd. We could debate the finer points of income distribution for quite some time, but that is not my goal.

As Rpaco pointed out, the new structures proposed to agree the sporting and technical regulations is part of the ‘Concorde Universal’ agreement – and it is this which is not agreed. This brings stability to the sport and ensures the interests of the smaller teams are represented

Toto (too many Wolff’s..) comments, “Such a broad agreement would be good but is it our business? Probably not. It is up to Bernie and the FIA to sort it out. Bernie is the rights holder so it is up to him and the FIA to find a solution. We are pretty much on the co-pilot’s seat.”

The importance of a ‘Universal Concorde agreement this is highlighted by Eric Boullier, “If you are building a business over a period of time you need some stability or some guarantee. As a private organisation we obviously would like to see more security over the future. The regulations are obviously our main costs so it is important to have visibility on that and be able to control our costs.”

So the teams see great value in ‘Concorde’ even though Mr. E apparently doesn’t. There was a free for all on regulations together with un-capped spending not long ago which led to F1 being rather monotonous.

Yet he ‘show’ has been going swimmingly in recent years for Bernie, Ringmaster of the F1 circus. The clown’s now have the audience in hysterical laughter and the trapeze artists are mesmerizing as they perform their skillful mid-air ballet.

The crack of the Lion trainer’s whip brings instant obedience from such a fearsome beast and the high wire dare-devil captivates us – such that the suspense is maintained right to the very last second of the show.

Forgotten are the times when everything was predictable and dull. Philosopher Nietzsche observes, “The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time,” an optimistic view of  not learning from past mistakes.

As long as we have a 3 headed beast running the F1 show, a ‘Universal Concorde’ is essential – and most definitely for the Ringmaster.

Lotus Launch: Due in 2 hours, yet these have been leaked. The first shows the car still has a stepped nose, and has not followed Ferrari suspension system remains pushrod based.

Here we can see the side pods are more RB style, coanda exhaust system


Driver Rumours: I am hearing Davide Valsecchi may be announced tonight as Lotus test driver. Valsecchi, a 26-year-old Italian had moderate success in GP2 for 4 years before he won the championship in 2012 – ahead of Luiz Razia and Esteban Gutierrez. Only Valsecchi and Giorgio Pantano (2008) have failed as GP2 champions to get an F1 drive the following year.
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This one’s interesting, it appears to have Kimi behind the air inlet, where a sponsor (like Honeywell) would go.
Apparently, Lotus were going to do their launch in a semi permanent structure, but high winds have driven them back to the factory floor.

9 responses to “Ecclestone: Baa..who needs Concorde? Susie Wolff to ride upwards and onwards, Reveal #3

  1. I would argue that outside of the top 4 or 5 teams, short-medium term financial stability, has been gained by the employing pay drivers and it’s a trend that will continue. Even McLaren admit Perez’s financial backing played a large part in him getting a drive with the team.

  2. “Susie spent seven seasons driving in DTM and was twice nominated for the prestigious BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.”

    And has scored a grand total of 4 points in 7 seasons in DTM. Which sounds a lot better than it actually is as all her points were scored in 2010. One wonders what Toto would say of her results when he said that Senna’s 2012 results for Williams were “disappointing”.

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