On this day in F1: 1st February

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On This Day  – 1st February

brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: Bart de Pauw

Giedo van der Garde revealed

Max Mosely blasts EU

2007: Giedo van der Garde was announced as test and reserve driver for the Spyker F1 team which in itself was not very eventful if it weren’t for the fact that the Dutchman on the day prior to this announcement had still been testing for Super Aguri with whom he had also entered into a test driver contract for the 2007 season.

At first Super Aguri wanted to keep van der Garde and his money and threatened to take the matter to the Contract Recognition Board which is the FIA’s body that is to rule on the legality of driver contracts, but ultimately the Japanese team decided to release him as that helped a lot to deal with Spyker’s aspirations to start legal action in the customer car row that existed between both teams.

And so Giedo van der Garde was confirmed as Spyker’s forth (!) 2007 test and reserve driver and participated to in-season tests at Silverstone and Spa at an alleged rate of USD 90,000/day. In 2012 van der Garde returned to F1 as a test driver for Caterham F1 and he is told to be still in the hunt for their second 2013 race seat, but one has to think that the chances of him ever again being signed by two F1 teams at the time are shrinking.

Here is some footage of what you can do if you got USD 90,000 to spare…Anyone know the circuit?

And again in Spa

2000: In a vigorous reaction against a warning as if the FIA’s practices on the distribution of F1 television rights and on the prohibition for F1 teams to participate in other series were violating the EU competition rules, FIA president Max Mosley in a seething letter blasted the EU for making a ‘hopeless muddle of the facts’ and for being ‘completely confused about the regulation and general functioning of motorsport’.

Despite this letter the EU continued proceedings and in 2001 the FIA was ultimately forced into a settlement that limited its role to that of ‘a sports regulator without influence over the commercial expoitation of the sport’ that could ‘no longer prevent teams to participate in other races’, but all of this only happened after mad Max in a series of follow-up letters made it very clear that a EU conviction would lead to a drastic reduction in the number of European F1 races.

So the writing was not only on the wall here but also in Mosley’s letters. And Adam Parr might want to think twice before continuing to found his current attack on Bernie’s unequal treatment of F1 teams on the very same EU competition rules as these are a boomerang that once again might come back very hard to hit F1 on its European leg…

19 responses to “On this day in F1: 1st February

  1. I’m pretty sure the first video of Guido van der Garde testing takes place at the Stowe Circuit (within the Silverstone complex). It took me a long time to find out – a Google search led me to the legal case between Guido van der Garde and the Force India Formula One Team regarding breach of contract (possibly reliable, if you have a lot of time to waste you can read it at http://clients.squareeye.net/uploads/oec/VAN%20DER%20GARDE%20v%20FORCE%20INDIA%20FORMULA%20ONE%20approved%20judgment%2024%2009%2010%20_4_.pdf) (the view being taken that the driver was set to drive 6,000 kilometres in testing for the team, also mentions lots of Super Aguri contract stuff and the availability of a Super License), in which it has remarkably detailed insights into the world of Formula One pay drivers. Anyway, on page 29 (I read all pages up to then just to find out), it states that he undertook 2,004 kilometres of testing for the team, and lists the venues as Valencia (19/02/07, 343km), Barcelona (27/02/07, 30/04/07, 13/11/07, 582km total), Silverstone (19/06/07, 21/06/07, 170km total), Spa (10/07/07, 370km), Stowe (25/07/07, 188km), and Jerez (07/12/07, 351km). Since Stowe is the only circuit on the list I don’t recognise, and a brief view of the track looks similar in YouTube videos, I suspect that is the circuit.

    • Really impressive research Alistair!!

      Spa was easy because I was there during the 3 days in July that F1 teams could test in preparation for the 2007 GP after Belgium had been removed from the 2006 calendar and Bernie wanted to make sure that the organization was really ready for it (more to come on that in one of the next OTD’s!), and I have lively memories of all the Dutchmen that were there to cheer for GVDG.

      What I can still add to all this is that GVDG only drove 4 laps for SuperAguri during the Valencia test on the day before he announced his Spyker contract, see also page 9 at the bottom for some more details on the radio message that was given to GVDG after 4 laps…

      Bottomline: paydrivers are a lawyer’s paradise!:-)

      • Thanks, I wouldn’t normally do this research but I have no university work to complete just yet and I thought I’d put in the effort!
        Once I’d read about the Super Aguri stuff further up, I actually felt sorry for van der Garde, and all the other pay drivers that are led to believe that they have a chance in Formula One. Since I read that, I’ve decided that it is only fair that the Dutchman has finally got a race seat this year!

        • Well, if this was your first contribution then I for one hope that you can stay away from your university work for a little longer or surf to this blog every now and then as an amuzing distraction once you have to get back to work, always good to have people around that make us smarter!

          I would always hope that a driver enters F1 because he’s quick and not because it’s fair or because he’s got the money, but in GVDG’s case I think that at times we will see a true flying Dutchman.

  2. No problem! Also, your blog is very informative, so keep up the good work, I see many things on here that seem to pop up in the news a few days or weeks later, and certainly more of the stuff behind the scenes of F1 than I have ever considered before!

  3. Things carried on from Max’sletters to a full EU commission which went on for a long time seeing off the EU chappie in charge of it. But leading to the FIA renting out the rights to Bernie for a period of 100 years (thanks to Max) for the equivalent of just £3.3m per year. However Bernie very nearly lost it as he did not make the first payment when he was supposed to.
    If anyone has the final wording of the verdict I would be iterested to see it, because I am sure I remember that it banned Bernie from being involved in rule making. (which of course he is now involved in again via the F1 policy group)

  4. Nice one Bart, awesome selection! Max M is far too readily forgotten, in terms of his influence, and I don’t say strictly he was wrong. He has a fierce mind for unravelling illogic that is admirable. But maybe misguided. Politicians make terrible laws, and legal minds terrible politicians. It’s the conflict between balancing a constituency of interests, and so so much law is created in the indefinite article (try the fracking law just passed in the UK, it’s all go ahead, but if someone farted that would register a seismic event requiring Whitehall to approve the restart of extraction. Just happens to be a vested lobby there against fracking .. ) and lawyers love the absolute by way of the Absolut of last resort. I think you hit hard on one of the most inner convolutions of how we live whether within F1 or vicariously through it, and vicariously there is all of life’s good and ill, endeavour and misdemeanour to be found, just as we rant and bitch pre and whilst and post the race.

    Against that, your choice of van der Garde is so apt, because he ascended the greased totem, just as we mortals forever are playing snakes and ladders in the game of sussing out F1. To my mind, a timely juxtaposition.

    Anyone who has been bored enough to have read my comments over time knows I am a Max fan. I rate the man’s intellect, and privileged or not, he had a heavy burden from birth, and fought his own battles. I don’t need to agree with him to appreciate that. (Oooh, maybe one day I should play Max’s advocate and see if I win, no holds barred in the discussion?) I’ll say this, though, his advantage was that of knowing – possibly through his father’s mistakes – how the reins of power are drawn.

    I hope your poignancy of choice is not lost on all. Cheers Bart, thanks for this OTD!

    ~ joj

    • Thanks for your kind words joj, I’m really glad you like it! And for the record: I’m with you on your assessment of Max Mosley and what he has done for the sport, taking over from Balestre and setting a clear direction for a change…

      • Cheers, DBP!

        I’m always amazed who little is mentioned of Balestre, but he was – by some contemporaries – accused of being Vichy, and whilst that was a common means to slur your opponent at one time, I think Jean- Marie got some very favourable court results. I have a friend who remembers crossing Merode, and who ended up, I am convinced, framed for a fraud, as a result. Nice little story where my pal was cuckolded by his general manager who embezzled the money and ran off with my mate’s wife. I thought it a bit far fetched, until the cuckold appeared on INTERPOL’s lists for something the similar, and there were too many other connexions.


        nota bene i accuse this man of nothing, save being nasty to a friend,

        and so no wonder it was time for a britisher to take the helm….

        hope to read your OTD regular! ~j

        • Apart from his main activity of self aggrandisement you only need to see the Senna film to understand his autocratic and ignorant method of operating. Also he ruled (and I do mean ruled) over the period when the FIA or FISA as it was then systematically and deliberately strangled all other forms of competing motor racing.
          But that’s another story.

  5. Great first post, Bart. I really like your sentence structure (seriously). I read the post to myself in a Flemish accent!

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