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FIA trusts telemetry provider
There has been remarkably little information on this matter. Then the FIA issued a press release yesterday which most news outlets have published verbatim the same story.
To cut a long story short, the problems with the race control systems are not caused by globe trotting giant anitpodean rodents as first suspected.
Neither is McLaren’s ECU the problem – though the reason the new supplier Riedel has been given such grace is because both McLaren and the teams would have extensive re-programming and wiring to do of the cars should they have reverted to the previous supplier .
This year we have yet to see a race contested where the cockpit warning light system has been fully functional, this means in the 21st century the drivers of the world’s leading multi-hundred million prototype motor vehicles are having to revert to the use of semaphore – to rely on the flags around the track.
Further, there have been DRS infringements which have gone unpunished by the stewards because the system that usually prevents early deployment of the rear flap does not work.
The have said that the progress made including the Bahrain weekend means they are “satisfied that the marshalling lights and GPS aspects of the electronic system had improved enough to be up to standard. And although the telemetry system, which controls the cockpit warning lights, was not good enough to be used – it was better than it had been at the first three grands prix.”
Ron Dennis demoted?
There appears to be story doing the rounds this morning that Ron Dennis has been demoted. It is from a particular source which distributed their news across a number of web sites verbatim. The basis for the story is that the road car of McLaren is losing vast fortunes of cash and the Bahraini masters, Mumtalakat Holdings are most displeased.
The writer is suggesting that Dennis has been ‘demoted’ and stripped of his voting rights on the McLaren Group Board and is now merely a non-executive director and that ‘due to his status as a company owner’. This would mean he no longer has any operational responsibility or control in the company.
The article cites for support AMuS who recently wrote, “Instead of the planned 3,500 units, only half of that are sold. The Bahrainis are seeing their money disappear, never to return,” they add that estimated losses are in the hundreds of millions.
The level and quality of content in this report is weak and inconclusive. So let’s investigate some of it’s claims.
Anyone with a reasonable understanding of UK company legislation and how different types of shareholdings can be structured allowing shareholders to have either voting or non-voting shares would raise an eyebrow at this article.
I do have this understanding having been most unfortunate to attempt a transaction with a certain ‘venture capital’ company recently in the news in connection with F1. They pursued our enterprise with promises of wealth beyond belief and possibly even immortality. Yet their offer to acquire a shareholding and re-structure the existing shares was derisory and this all came together with a most punitive structure and interest/fees/penalities to the capital injection they benevolently deigned to consider.
Being ’angry’ with Ron or losing money is not an acceptable basis in law for re-structuring the shares within an organistation from voting to non-voting. This would require the consent of the shareholder with voting rights. Further, the article states that the only reason Ron Dennis is still on the board is because he owns shares – is a ‘company owner’. This is rubbish as owning shares does not necessarily convey the rights to an individual to be even a non-executive director.
I would expect McLaren will be rebuffing these allegations should they gain traction in the more mainstream media.
Further, the article refers to ‘the hundreds of millions’ of losses. This is not operating losses, it is referring the capital investment in the infrastructure required to build road cars. That is not ‘lost’ at all as it is still there. Neither are McLaren making ‘hundreds of millions’ in operating losses.
Selling half of the targeted number of cars will merely mean the debt to build the infrastructure is not being repaid as envisioned, which is hardly surprising given the biggest world recession in living memory popped up since the planned automotive motor division was conceived.
There may be some grains of truth in this report, however the substantive perception it purveys is nonsense. What the story does interesting create is consideration to the question, ‘why now’?
Bahrain is a ‘democratic monarchy’. The Al-Khalifa family control the ‘democratic’ government in Bahrain with all the top jobs held by Al-Khalifa’s and their relations. King, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, deputy Prime Minister (4 of), Defence, Foreign Affairs, Exchequer/Taxes, Internal Affairs (read KGB style operations)…. All in all some 15 cabinet positions out of the 30 or so that exist in the Bahraini ‘government’ are occupied by the Al-Khalifa family and others by cousins et al.
Mumtalakat Holdings describe themselves as follows. “As Bahrain’s investment arm for the Kingdom’s non-oil and gas strategic assets, Mumtalakat’s vision is to grow the wealth of the country”.They take the revenue the government receives from Oil and Gas and invest it elsewhere, Formula 1 is just one example of the kind of playboy assets they hold.
This fund is in effect the Al-Khalifa family multi-billion dollar capital investment fund.
It is more than of passing interest that this alleged ‘anger’ from the Al-Khalifa’s toward Ron Dennis becomes public knowledge just days after the Bahrain GP.
Day 4: Christian Aid week
Here at TJ13, we wanted to pay tribute to Christin’s racing legacy during this difficult time of re-adjustment since his ‘demotion’ from the role of Red Bull ‘team boss’. Today we look at happy times when 3 amigos including Christian and his 2 F1 mentors had fun in Monaco.
Here are the other articles for ‘Christian Aid’ week if you missed them.