Wolff wishes to clear the air, Big Foot or The Hulk, Pirelli reveals tyres for 1st 4 races, Ecclestone and the ‘appearing’ evidence

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Toto Wolff sets matters straight

In an interview for Formula1.com Toto Wolff talks about expectations at Mercedes.

“As they (Mercedes) know I have put my neck on the line they know that I have no room for failure. Not only have I taken a personal risk by leaving Williams – where I have enjoyed working – but there is also a financial and economic side to it. There is a huge amount of trust on both sides and I am very happy having joined.”

I’m not really sure what Toto is inferring here, “You cannot run a Formula 1 operation in the UK out of Germany. It is not only a difference in mentality – there is definitely a difference (laughs) – but it is also about physically being there.

Running a company from a distance never really works, so the question is either you run it full time or you don’t. And if you don’t, then you rely on management. In the past I have done that, but it was not the role Mercedes had envisioned for me.”

I wasn’t aware the team was previously run from Stuttgart, so the comparison Wolff makes appears to be a moot point. Toto then wishes to clarify the management structure because he claims the media made a big deal over this a couple of weeks ago and it is really this simple.

“Niki is the non-executive chairman of the board which means that he heads the board in non-operational, non-executive functions. He is a triple world champion; he is a good negotiator and he has good relationships. He is very straightforward and direct and is somebody who will be looking after the team. He is chairing the board but it is less of an operational function.

Then there is the executive board that is running the company and I am part of the executive board. My angle is more from the commercial side, but of course there are overlaps to the racing activities with Ross. Ross is the team principal who is in charge of the racing team.

Nick Fry is still the CEO, and as my role is twofold – on one side I represent Mercedes-Benz as their head of motorsport, on the other side I am a shareholder within the team – I will fit in the senior management.”

Thanks Toto for clearing that up???

Big Foot Hulkenberg

According to Bilde, Nico’s feet are rather too large for the Sauber foot well making it uncomfortable for him when operating the pedals. The monocoque cockpit cannot be redesigned.

“We have cut the rubber soles back at the heels to give us some more space”, Hulkenberg comments.

Blick the Swiss publication reports that when asked which of the 2013 cars had most surprised him, he replied “The Sauber! Just like 2012, they have made a good car again.”

When I was in Jerez looking down on the pit lane, the styling of the sidepods is even more remarkable. relative to other designs it looks as though it doesn’t have any at all.

I’m afraid Mrs judge didn’t oblige us with a relevant picture.


Pirelli tyre selection

For 2013 Pirelli has re-designed the 4 dry weather tyres. Each is roughly a step softer than those used in 2012. The tyres have been structurally re-designed to make them easier to warm up as we saw Jenson prove when he delivered his fastest lap of the day in Jerez on the first flying lap.

The tyres will degrade more than the 2012 versions and Pirelli is targeting a mix of compounds for each race weekend that will force the teams into at least a 2 pit stop strategy. Each driver has 6 sets of the harder compound and 5 of the softer compound for all practice sessions, qualifying and the race.

As we saw in Jerez, all of the slick tyres have improved performance and are faster by up to 0.5 seconds per lap. The performance gap between the different compounds is also at least half a second, in order to enhance race strategy and differences in speeds during each race.

Circuit 2013 Option 2013 Prime 2012 Option 2012 Prime
Melbourne Super Soft Medium Soft Medium
Sepang Medium Hard Medium Hard
Shanghai Soft Medium Soft Medium
Bahrain Soft Hard Soft Medium


Red – Super Soft

Yellow – Soft

White – Medium

Orange – Hard

Green – Intermediate

Blue – Wet

Pirelli explain their selections.

“In Australia, the P Zero White medium and P Zero Red supersoft tyres will be nominated: the first time that Pirelli has nominated the softest compound in the range for Melbourne. The full step in the compound choice should ensure a performance gap between the cars that allows strategy to come into play.

“The choice of the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium for Malaysia – the two hardest tyres in the range – will cater for the high temperatures and abrasive surface that is a well-known characteristic of the Far Eastern track.

“The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres are nominated for China: the best choice for the comparatively high degradation expected as a result of the demanding track layout, which leads to close racing.

“Like Australia, Bahrain has a brand new nomination this year compared to last year: P Zero Orange hard and P Zero Yellow soft. This is designed to ensure plenty of speed in qualifying coupled with the durability needed for the race, which is again often held in high temperatures.”

Ecclestone and the ‘appearing’ evidence

I have to say I’m staggered at the scale of this black ops mission as ‘Spot the BE clone’ has for a second consecutive day unmasked a cyber being in the image of our glorious leader. This one was fairly easy to spot though due to the utter absurd and unbelievable claims they make.

A document, never seen or heard of previously, has apparently emerged suggesting CVC offered way more than anyone else for the rights to F1, even though they actually paid substantially less than this offer at the end of the day.

PitPass.com today report that “It was a big gamble for CVC [to invest in F1] but it has paid off. Core to its success has been Ecclestone’s position as F1 boss and one wonders if the sport would be in the rude health it was today if it had been sold to another buyer that did not want him running it.”

The news behind this story is that after years of legal rumblings, CVC have finally managed to find a missing document (Abracadabra) that exonerates all and sundry of any behaviour not whiter than white – Bayern LB, Gribkowsky, CVC, Max M, Bernie and Bambino Trust – in the sale of F1 commercial rights in 2005.

Ecclestone is facing 3 different legal challenges, one in New York, one in London and the biggie has yet to be listed in Munch. Should the state prosecutors in Germany choose to pursue Bernie, this could be the legal battle that renders both CVC’s and Ecclestone’s legitimacy to the commercial rights of F1 null and void.

No wonder CVC have shipped between 28-45% of their shares in FOM (I’ll call it this to save detailed breakdowns of minute detail) in 2012 alone.

The errant document that surfaced was filed today was with the UK courts and relates to matters covered in TJ13 article “Yet more legal trouble for Ecclestone”. It is apparently a letter of offer from CVC to buy the F1 commercial rights for way more than any one else.

“You will note that the proposal is for $1.5bn for your holding of 71.65%. This is an improvement on the previous offer  which valued 75% at $1.5bn. This improvement can only be justified if there is some positive news or information about the business we are proposing to invest in. I look forward to hearing it.” 

The question I would pose is, ‘what was the ‘positive news’ they appear to be soliciting? It didn’t come and this offer was never completed, rather a deal for much less was finally struck. I suggest this is a fabrication and this question was never asked.

The newly discovered letter continues, “It is a condition of our offer that Bernie Ecclestone continues as the company’s Chief Executive and we would wish to support his plans for developing the business”. The ‘new’ cloned Pitpass then comments upon this clause saying, “with hindsight this has proven to be a sensible decision, though all in a day’s work for Ecclestone”.

Pitpass then critices the German prosecutor’s for not understanding Ecclestone’s motives. They claim Bernie is a penny pincher and would never consider paying Gribkowsky $44m just to stay in his job. In fact Pitpass go further suggesting it would be more in Ecclestone’s nature to demand $44m to continue his work. Such facile reasoning I have never heard before in my life.

Then as if to prove nobody was ripping anyone off we have the following offer from CVC to the Bayern LB bank.

“I am pleased to set out below a proposed offer under which a new company (‘Newco’) formed by CVC Capital Partners Limited will… buy the whole of your interests in Formula One… The proposed offer for your combined holdings of 71.65 per cent of SLEC is $1.5bn… As a condition of this offer Bambino or the Ecclestone family will reinvest at completion $100m into the share capital of Newco for a 10 per cent stake… BayernLB may also invest $100m at completion in Newco for a 10 per cent stake.”

Pitpass then infers Bayern LB were short sighted for not taking up their option of a 10% share in F1. Is it possible a media outlet could blindly attempt such uncritical propaganda in praise of the handling of all things F1 by Mr. E?

The truth is, someone half as competent as screwing everyone for each last penny who may have been employed on $5m salary a year would now have promoters paying enough hosting fees to make a reasonable profit, Free to air TV companies still able to afford to broadcast F1 and the teams would have a greater share of the revenue.

Why? Because the incremental $7.5bn raised over and above what was required in the past 7 years has lined the pockets of CVC and Bernie Ecclestone. No wonder he was happy to issue $44m to Gribkowsky and to retain his job and position of power.

I will publish the document here in full later today as I do not have unzip programs at present to do so. This letter and subsequent Pitpass defence has the hallmarks of a truant child forging a parent’s letter to school explaining that the said child’s absence was actually authorised by parental consent.







Full Pitpass article here.

25 responses to “Wolff wishes to clear the air, Big Foot or The Hulk, Pirelli reveals tyres for 1st 4 races, Ecclestone and the ‘appearing’ evidence

  1. I’ve never once visited pitpass… No reason why, really, I guess, I just don’t hear anyone referencing it on the sites I do visit. But, I did want to ask if pitpass is the site that joe saward refers to as being Bernie’s parrot

    • Though some may think I’m parochial enough to back whatever Joe says, despite I’d trust his instincts anyhow, I came to my own conclusions about this, quite independently, and I think there is – or was – something highly suspicious about that site’s publishing. As for parochialism, consider if you know what’s going on, but if you speak out every constituency will disown you. Some subjects tar everyone. I simply back who I think has a clue and is genuine about their approach, even if the subjects are “unmentionable”. I believe privately that more was exposed in the last year or so, about how F1 press – and I use that word liberally – operates, to have significant repercussions. Therein is one of my reasons for supporting this place, because a breath of fresh air never did anyone harm.

    • Give some credit, maybe to the old boy of that site, who may not be all he was a while ago, but Lawrence can still deliver good reading. Some of it absolutely superb. Credit where due. Lawrence is my only reason to actually read anything there.

  2. for me , the selling of stakes to Wolf and Lauda from Mercedes seems strange…. if i was a world brand and i was confident of winning some success after a great restructuration why would i sell part of my stakes to outsiders ? I would have kept all my shares so that to have maximum world recognition… i would only sell if i was not sure to win and this would allow me to put the failures on the head of these people …. what you guys think ?

    • Hi Bryan…
      I’m not sure I’m qualified to take part in this but, as an outsider, I would expect Mercedes to fully capitalise on (and thus have ‘maximum world recognition’) any success… and equally, even if they had 100% ownership, they would still be able to blame someone else for any failure… Don’t forget last year two major members of the team were ‘dismissed’… Maybe Mercedes sold the shares in order to ensure Wolff/Lauda’s loyalty and commitment but, with all this CVC stuff going on I would have to ask: when and how payments are made by Wolff/Lauda… Could it be they have some kind of ‘option’ deal…? Has any money actually changed hands yet…?

    • How much would one consider Wolff an outsider though, considering his involvement with HWA in recent years?

      • Fair point. Good to see you Leigh – its been a while.

        Like JOJ – despite forcing upon my mind toward the melody of ‘blessing the rains down in Africa” every time I hear his name – I think Toto has potential.

        We’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out. If Niki reverts to type and repeats his impersonations of a bull in a china shop with the resulting obvious nuclear fallout (to boldly mix metaphors) – that’s when we’ll see the true metal of the man.

        More so if Wolff (I prefer that assignation) restrains the Torros – that will be most impressive.

        As Wolff, Toto may be better matched to the Pinscher that is Marko.

        hey ho. To coin a phrase – the jury’s out on that one 🙂

  3. Read the article on formula1.com and I do not think Toto is saying that Mercedes was ever run from Stuttgart, I think that he is simply comparing his old and his new job description to explain why for his new role he had to move to the UK: Williams didn’t want him to operationally run the company so during that job he could stay in Germany while relying on UK-based people for operational management, but Mercedes want him to operationally run the commercial side of F1 and that means that he has to be in UK.

    • There’s also a keyed message for Stuttgart to leave them alone to get along with things.

      Toto is a entrepreneur, and he seems to be pointing out how stifling the German board system of governance can be, and emphasizing his individuality.

      I think we just have a guy interviewed in not his native language, and he’s trying to express quite a complex concern couched in personal terms so he’s not getting the team in any more politics.

      I think there was a kind of frustration in the interview, and if you worked around Niki, well, you might want to send the occasional message publicly. Private channels are something of Lauda’s forte.

      If my reading is correct, I’m warming to the guy.

  4. A document not only just discovered, but of such vital importance (with a single bound he was free!) that its existence was not even mentioned before by Bernie’s team of lawyers. Had it existed before one might have thought it would have been a headline defence document in Gribkowski’s trial let alone Bernie’s forthcoming one.

    It would be unwise to suggest that this particular document is a forgery, yet I am reminded of one of my heroes, Tom Keating and know that anything is possible. I recommend his videos in particular that of JMW Turner’s method.
    I am sure that all Bernie’s legal documents contain both anti-forgery and hidden traceable features. Thus it should be easy to find who has been hiding the document and the fact of it’s existence for so long.

    System dates can easily be altered on Unix and Windows systems, with very simple utilities.

    • Hi rpaco
      (with a single bound he was free!)
      It’s lines like this that make this site so wonderfully more entertaining (as well as informative) than most of the others.
      Apropos CVC etc… one of my other favourite movie quotes is: “I’ll head them off at the pass”… 😉

    • Good call on Tom Keating. Whatever happened to his television programmes where he showed off his ability?

      My late BP in his later life was a go – to for forgery cases, mainly because he was the only one in his niche who’d not upped sticks to Switzerland, but because he’d worked with so many restorers, and they have enormous skills, but are treated like dirt by the auction houses. Recipe for misuse of idle hands.

      There are so many cases of “we just found it” in discovery, even innocent ones, I’d not write this off, just yet. But surely, Grib has something to argue now, as you note?

      • His videos were prog on channel 5 or poss channel 4 and largely ignored by the world. I bought the set for my daughter who was doing a BA Hons in Fine Art. The “Haywain in reverse” was a classic, but it was his showing how Turner built up his 15 layers of paint and glazes that captured me. An incredible man who had an interesting life including running away in his 50s with his girl student in her twenties. The Fake’s Progress is a book I would love to own. I’v read it twice, I’ve a list of his admitted fakes (Sexton Blakes). If y you collect art, always xray or the joke’s on you. He is collectable in his own name too.

        Sorry guys & gals it all kicked of on the possibility to fake documents. Tom was a true master.

  5. Sorry m’lud but… I’m afraid my honourable friend has me frequently discombobulated by his recherche use of inverted commas, especially the occasional lack of them when taking the same quote to a new paragraph… 😉

    • Objection noted by the court recorder and for now over ruled. I shall explain…

      It is a deliberate matter of style to prevent the flow of the speaker being halted – this is why I use italics for the entire quote too.

      The paragraph’s you see on TJ13 are very short in number of words – so are not really full paragraphs because of the style of the blog (narrow column), you get less words in a TJ13 para than usual.

      So by breaking up into extra chunks what the speaker is saying feels disjointed to me.

      If it is a problem for everyone I can ask for a judicial review with my colleagues. .

      • I personally don’t have any problem with using punctuation to accentuate the way someone reads an article.

        In a lot of areas the internet is re-writing the English language. Firstly, by redefining the traditional 7.5×11 paper into a ‘narrow column’ blog.

        Here, the flow is more important than making sure your line breaks are in place.

          • Hmm… I’m not sure but (as above) I seem to have failed here… What I was suggesting was the occasional lapse of punctuation which I presume can occur if you create a new paragraph, and don’t add the quotes at the beginning… Thus, because I’m an old dog and somewhat stuck with ancient teachings, I automatically presume the new para. is a quote from someone else… to be identified later… and therefore seems disjointed to me.
            I don’t see why omitting the ‘extra’ quotes would make it seem disjointed to you, but I am aware that blogs are changing the face of the earth, and I’m not averse to learning new tricks…
            I also seem to have confused EightM – I am also more interested in the flow…
            Perhaps the next time I’m confused I’ll do a copy/paste to make myself clearer and email it, so as not to bog down other readers in my problems… 😉
            Over ruled accepted.

  6. Having now read the fax which has been added since I looked last time, it is pretty indisputable that in order to make the re-investment offers that either Bernie or CVC must have had control of Bambino’s finances. Something which apparently Grib blackmailed him about.

    One (HMRC) has to ask how then was he or CVC to arrange this investment if he/ they were not in control of Bambino.

    It is notable that both the header page and the letter itself are only initialled not signed, thus easily later publicly deniable if necessary untraceable or attributed to someone who exceeded their authority.

    It could also be questioned as to why this is a copy from the recipient and not the sender. It is stamped by Gribkowski’s office, not by Bernie’s.
    So in fact this document has not been produced by Bernie’s or CVC’s people at all but by the bank’s staff.

    Of course the documents would have been carefully treated to remove any extra writing vis the marks on each page below the date/time print. Excepting leaving one on the right to show authenticity.

  7. “Positive news”

    Hmm, okay, I’ve done deals where parties just don’t want what they know or say on the record.

    I think they are asking for something in writing to back up something Bernie or Grib has said, but which they will not commit to formally. #

    That would explain the higher bid, then dropped, and even the language might be a good reason not to hand out a copy of a letter asking for confirmation of information that may not have been fairly available.

    Positive speculation, of course . .

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