Daily News: Friday 15th March 2013

Caterham appointment

This is very interesting. Vitaly Petrov’s ex-manager Oksana Kosachenko has landed herself a job at Caterham this year as Commercial Director.

Oksana KosachenkoA press release says, “She will be in charge of the acquisition of new commercial partners for the team and will attend races and team events in her new role which started in February 2013”.

This looks to me like Vitaly may be having a sabbatical and could well return in 2014 should Caterham still exist by then of course.

Maldonado recognises his future is uncertain

Clearly the cheque was signed by Hugo chavez before his unfortunate demise that will keep Pastor maldonado at Williams in 2013. Yet he admits there is no certainty the sponsorship will continue next year.

“Politically, I don’t know. I think many of you in the media have said everything is gone for me, but here I am. We’ll see. It must be possible. It’s always possible.

Chavez changed completely the approach for sport in Venezuela. In the past, people only know Venezuela for the oil and for the girls.

Now it’s changed a lot. We have the best baseball players in the world, a good football team which is getting better and better. We have a driver in Formula 1 who has won a race in a short time.

It’s looking quite good for the future. I think it changed a lot with Chavez being President and now it can be worse. We’ve started and now we need to carry on.”

Pastor turns his thoughts to this weekend. “I’m here to do my best. It’s going to be good if we can get some points this weekend,” he said.

The car is looking not bad. It’s a better car than last year’s. But we don’t know against the other teams, the other cars. It’s a big question mark.

“The car feels better in all the single points. It’s completely new; we’ve been working 360 degrees around the car, trying to get 100 per cent of every single component of the car”.

Maldonado was running well towards the end of 2012’s race and on the last lap was harrying Alonso for 5th place when he lost control of the car and crashed out.

“I like this kind of circuit. It’s bumpy, slippery, it’s going to improve a lot during the weekend as well and I’m always ready for that kind of improvement.

“I hope to be competitive, especially in qualy. And then to have a good race and be in the points.”

Nico can beat Lewis

Bild suggest to Nico Rossberg that he will have a much more difficult time with his new team mate than he had with Michael Schumacher who ‘was in decline’.

Rosberg insisted, “I can assure you that Michael was still on it.” Nico is reminded of his time racing as a team mate of Hamilton’s when in karting and he admits, “He was super-fast.”

untitledHowever, Rosberg is not phased by this history and explains, “Karting is pure, but in Formula One, my other strengths come into play much more. .

I always get the most from the set-up, I am very consistent. “There are drivers who have days where not everything fits together. I have less of them”.

So Nico thinks he is more consistent than Lewis and this will win out. Interesting…..

Valencia back on the agenda

The last we heard was that the track in Valencia had fallen into disrepair and that installations had been looted by vandals with flooding of the underground paddock access tunnels.

untitledEl Mundo reports, the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Alberto Fabra, confirmed that he met Bernie Ecclestone on 26th February in London to close a deal to host a Grand Prix in Valencia every two years.

The agreement, is yet to be signed by the president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas, but Fabra is adamant that Valencia will only be missing from the f1 calender this year because it is the turn of Barcelona.

Mercedes concern over McLaren-Honda

AMuS speaks briefly with Toto Wolff on the matter of Mercedes relationship with McLaren. With Martin Whitmarsh refusing to admit the Woking based team will use Mercedes engines beyond 2014 this has provoked speculation that Honda will return in 2015 as McLaren’s partner.

untitledOf course this gives the McLaren team and any embedded Honda personnel a year to examine in detail the Mercedes F1 engine and possible copy the best ideas.

Toto admits, “You can never completely prevent a transfer of technology know-how, but we can try to protect ourselves”.

Will this mean that McLaren will get a diminished service from Mercedes in 2014 which will compromise their chances of competing at the front?

Todt – ‘the useless’  – and the RRA

The future of the RRA is in serious doubt. This is in fact a gentlemen’s agreement to restrict spending and hence level the playing field more for all F1 competitors…………. Hahahaha – sorry, that sounds like a ‘purple haze‘ inspired surreal moment of otherness.

Anyway. this matter has been holding up the Concorde agreement and the teams appear no closer to resolving the matter than ever before despite Ecclestone’s assertions earlier in the week.

Most teams want the FIA to get involved to expand and enshrine the arrangement in the actual rules. There would be extreme penalties for breaking them and of course it is Red Bull and Ferrari who are not playing ball at present.

untitledFIA president Jean Todt aka ‘the gnome’ arrived in Melbourne on Friday afternoon and has cast serious doubt not only on the latter possibility, but even on the future of the present gentleman’s pact.

Sat by a garden pond with his fishing rod he observed, “I think Formula 1 does cost too much,” however “A lot of teams prefer to have the privilege of competition rather than reduce costs.

I hope that a sensible approach from teams will be reducing costs. But it’s not something we all have to agree together. We are the regulator. If they don’t want to reduce costs, that’s it. It’s not our responsibility to do things that teams do not want.”

That is quite simply outrageous and had Todt been in the chair at the FIA during the early 2000’s, we’d still be spending several hundred thousand dollars on an engine that ran for 200Km before being binned after qualifying.

Jean’s little red face brightened when asked about the state of the FIA’s financial situation as he has persuaded Bernie to give the Paris based Federation some more pocket money each year for treats.

Yet the FIA have egg on their faces as the white shirts bearing the FIA logo for the race stewards to wear got lost in the mail from gay Paris, reports Speed Week.

One response to “Daily News: Friday 15th March 2013

  1. I’m assuming you don’t have much love for Mr Todt?

    Anyway, I digress.RBR and Ferrari aren’t keeping to the RRA? Wasn’t it Red Bull originally that was spending what they chose, and because of the ineffectiveness of the policing, Ferrari withdrew from the agreement?

    Also, I have, for a significant time, believed that restriction of budget or testing at circuits is pandering to the lowest common denominator.
    If Honda, Renault, Mercedes or Ferrari decide to invest $500 million dollars into engine research a year, that’s their prerogative.
    If they have enough brand awareness that sponsors will pay for their costs, why should they be brought down to the masses.
    Bridgestone used to pay all testing costs for Ferrari during the Schumacher era, and the advantages were huge. But all that testing was brought to a shuddering standstill when the FIA introduced the single tyre rule for 2005.
    My point being, that all these manufacturer teams are international businesses, with huge resource, both financial and intellectual. They are run by accountants who would never allow a board to run a company into the ground.
    One statistic I remember reading back in the mid 2000’s, Toyota spent around $300,000,000 annually to field an F1 car. The exposure to audience figures showed that it cost something like 19 pence per car manufactured to cover the cost of the team.
    To have had the same exposure using traditional advertising would have cost them 3 to 4 times as much.

    I don’t have a particular interest in football, I see some of the headlines in the media, but I read enough, that most clubs are run into massive debt, they pay 6 figure salaries to a 22 man squad, and if they can raise the funds, can buy players for more than it costs to run a small outfit in F1.

    Life is a meritocracy, not a socialist experiment.
    Sport should be the same, the strongest win. We aspire to drive a better car, live in a bigger house, have nicer clothes, spend more quality time with our children, take them on holiday. Some choose to live a rural life, in woodland or farming and self producing, that’s fine also. A lot of my family in Italy have those very values, but its about choice.
    If I listen to music, I want to be inspired, be taken on a roller coaster of emotion, I do not want to listen to manufactured pop and it’s blandness enter my world.
    If I want to watch the Olympics, I want to applaud the athlete for their self belief and dedication to training. I don’t want everyone to get a medal at the egg and spoon race because otherwise kids would be upset.

    So a team wants to out spend their rivals, that’s fine, but between 1983 and 1999, Ferrari had huge budgets that made no difference to their championships. Toyota has similarly spent huge money for little return.
    What about Mclaren’s budget over recent seasons, they haven’t scrimped and saved, yet they haven’t won any championship either.

    In fact as a final point to close my rant, Mclaren.

    If there had been budget restrictions from the mid 80’s, would they have been able to invest in their technology centre or create a factory that produces supercars?
    Ferrari is a little different, as customer cars were being built to fund racing. Whereas Mclaren were always a sponsored team.

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