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.
TJ13 is now also on Facebook. Like us in the toolbar on the right if you’re a FB’er.
Let’s begin the news round up with a couple of our favourite F1 rogues. What have they been up to whilst the gaze of thejudge13 has been averted.
Ecclestone legal troubles:
Back on the 21st Nov 2012, TJ13 reported that a second litigation had been filed in the USA over alleged fraudulent transactions connected with the sale of F1’s commercial rights to CVC back in 2005. This follows the case in Munich already with the prosecutors who are considering charges of bribery and fraud.
If that was the opening bell then Round 1 is under way today. In true legal fashion, Ecclestone and his lawyers have filed with the court an appeal contesting the jurisdiction of the court to rule on these matters. They argue, “The various events underlying the allegations in the complaint did not take place in New York or the United States, but in Europe and the Middle East,” Ecclestone said in an affidavit filed Jan. 31 in New York State Supreme Court.”
This petition has been filed under Bluewaters v. Ecclestone, No. 653965/2012, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan). The legal team from Bluewaters have responded “We feel confident that New York is an appropriate forum, and we look forward to pressing ahead with the case,” Kent Yalowitz for Bluewaters at Arnold & Porter LLP, said in an e-mail.
Mr. E claims the payments from Swiss accounts to an Austrian account were done so without assistance from New York banks. Further, as far as they know these transactions were unrelated to the sale to CVC. Rather, they were made to buy Gribkowsky’s silence after “insinuations” that he might tell U.K. tax authorities about certain activities of a family trust controlled by Ecclestone’s wife at the time
Bernie said when they case was filed in November, “I was concerned that misinformation that he provided to the authorities might be taken seriously and might cause them to assess me to owe a tax bill of many hundreds of millions, if not billions of pounds that I believe I did not owe but which would have caused me to become bankrupt,”
For the original TJ13 article, click here to read “Ecclestone faces another fraud charge over 2005 sale of F1 to CVC”.
This case will be, as will the one in Munich, a long and drawn out affair and those hoping to see the back of F1’s supremo will be disappointed if they are waiting for a judicial verdict. The pressure on CVC is another matter. They have publically stated they are searching for Bernie’s successor and it is they who have a finger on the trigger, not the lawyers.
Mallya and the missing Cash:
Having finally confirmed personally last week (whilst I was away) that Paul Di Resta will drive his VJM06, Mallya has still failed to address the matter of funding the promised £50m to improve the equipment and set up at the Force India base in Silverstone. Whilst Force India have signed a number of sponsors recently, I’m not convinced any of them is a big money partner to deliver this ambitious spend.
For those who believe Vijay has pocketed gazillions from the partial sale to Diageo of his business, United Spirits – I’m afraid this is a rather long and drawn out affair. Last week the global liquor major Diageo Plc received market regulator SEBI’s clearance for an open offer to acquire 26 per cent stake from public shareholders of the UB group firm. So nothing doing there for a while then.
Further, the sale of this business to Diageo (ironically a McLaren sponsor) will reduce Vijay’s wriggle room to fund the F1 team through its brands. IBNlive.in.com reported in October that the deal which includes brands such as ‘Whyte and McKay’ will leave Mallya with a seat on the board to retain face only. However neither he or any current employees will have financial or management control as this will sit with a newly appointed CFO and CEO proposed by Diageo.
So back to the big spend for Force India fans. Vijay nicely kicks this alleged spend into the long grass when he says on the team’s website, “The [£50m investment] programme is underway and we are currently looking for the land to build our new wind tunnel. The team has done a remarkable job with the resources that we already have, but if we want to realise our long-term ambitions we need to give our engineers the best tools available, starting with a state-of-the-art wind tunnel. The more immediate benefits of our investment are already in place for 2013 with greater CFD capacity.”
Force India investment in wind tunnel project:
Results thus far: No land identified as of yet.
To Do: Identify possible sites, analysis the pros and cons of each site, decide upon a final location, negotiate the price and terms of sale, obtain outline planning permission, obtain detailed planning permission, design said wind tunnel, construction said wind tunnel….then…forget it – I might not be here by then.
Pirelli 2013 rubber and test driver(s):
I alluded to my concern over whether Jerez would be dropped from the F1 pre-season testing schedule in Judges chambers recently. The debacle with the holes in the track on Friday combined with comments made from Paul Hembery suggest the circuit owners have some expensive work to undertake. Today, Hembery has released his thoughts on the new 2013 tyres and what we can gauge from them thus far.
“The four days spent at Jerez, with most teams running their new cars, gave us all a good general impression of the characteristics of our 2013 tyres on track, with completely new compounds and construction,” Hembery said. “It seems that we are very much on the right road and the changes we wanted to see are all there: the tyres are faster than their equivalents last year, and they have a wider window of peak performance.
“Conditions at Jerez were not ideal this year however, as it was an extremely abrasive track – the most abrasive of all the circuits we visit all year – and consequently it was hard to draw any proper conclusions, given that the surface had actually become even more abrasive than last season. We came away with plenty of data for the hard and medium tyres, very little for the soft tyre and none for the supersoft.
“Now we look forward to the next two test sessions at Barcelona, which will provide another very valuable opportunity for the teams to extend their knowledge of this year’s tyres.”
Pirelli took 385 sets of tyres to Jerez. Used 251 sets, details as follows.
Supersoft: 3 sets
Soft: 33 sets
Medium: 137 sets
Hard: 74 sets
Intermediate: 3 sets
Wet: 1 set
Supersoft: 8 laps
Soft: 12 laps
Medium: 24 laps
Hard: 20 laps
Intermediate: 3 laps
Wet: 1 lap
One thing worthy of note to me on day 1 was not the fact that Jenson set the fastest time, but that he set his own fastest time on his first flying lap of a run. This is in stark contrast to Jenson’s difficulties in 2012 when he would take several laps to warm up the tyres.
It appears that Heikki’s hopes of staying in F1 have received a boost. Paul Hembery tells Finnish ‘Turan Sanomat, “Heikki would be an excellent candidate. He is a very experienced driver. I think he is one of the best candidates available to”. However, Kovelainen’s countryman would rather see Heikki in a rally car. “I think that would be a perfect alternative for Heikki, but so would DTM and Le Mans. I could easily see Heikki in on a frozen lake in Kuusamo in a rally car. He is an excellent driver with a lot of talent. ”
The problem I see for Heikki is that if he wishes to stay in F1 he’s going to have to get some serious sponsorship – because clearly being the Pirelli test driver with a little black book of information on the following years tyre performance didn’t impress any team enough this year to hire Jaime Alguersuari.ecclestone.