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09:57 10:51 12:18 13:35 15:16
Keep calm and carry on – F1
The F1 frenzy is reaching boiling point at present. Today Bild are claiming Brawn and Mercedes in addition to possible infringements of the sporting regulations have broken a “Gentleman’s agreement”. This phrase was coined by Horner when he referred to this previously unknown document during the Canadian GP to describe the apparent concord.
We may as well start the day with a smile on our lips. Here is one definition of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ I found.
“A gentlemen’s agreement is an informal agreement between two or more parties. It is typically oral, though it may be written, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette. The essence of a gentlemen’s agreement is that it relies upon the honour of the parties for its fulfillment, rather than being in any way enforceable. It is, therefore, distinct from a legal agreement or contract, which can be enforced if necessary”.
I think no such thing has ever existed in Formula 1, other than maybe between drivers in the era when death visited the F1 house on a regular basis.
Bild has published a copy of the signed ‘Testing Agreement 2013’, featuring the signature of every team boss, including the under-fire Ross Brawn. The document shows that F1’s eleven teams agreed that in the event Pirelli wanted to run development testing for 2014, any test would have to be jointly approved by the testing committee – the teams – and the FIA.
“The document raises massive questions about Mercedes’ credibility,” said Sport Bild.
Stop uw verontwaardiging mijn Duitse vrienden – Ik lach te hard 🙂
(and for the purist Germanic speakers) Deutsche Freunde, Stop Ihre Empörung, Ich lache zu hart 🙂
Red Bull surprised by the Vettel contract announcement
It appears that Herr Marko was not the only one to be surprised by the announcement on Tuesday of Sebastian Vettel’s decision to take up the 1 year option for a contract extension. A significant number of the Red Bull family only heard about this in the media, which is not the Red Bull way.
TJ13 is still investigating the reasons for what is now obviously a surprise move by the triple world champion, however answers at present are thin on the ground.
There has been much speculation over who will drive with Vettel in 2014 and popular paddock opinion has been that Webber will leave as reported by the Sun. “KIMI RAIKKONEN would be the ideal team-mate for Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year, according to ex-Formula One ace Johnny Herbert. Along with just about everyone else in the F1 paddock, the Sky TV pundit is convinced Mark Webber will no longer be with the pace-setting Milton Keynes squad in 2014” (9th May 2013).
Yet if a week is a long time in politics, then 6 months in F1 is a lifetime. Memories of Sepang have faded, and now the dust has settled what matters for 2013 is the Malayan GP resulted in 1-2 finish for Red Bull who are beginning to dominate once again.
Horner argued around the time of the ‘multi21’ furore that, “Our driver pairing is one of the most successful in formula one history,” and who can argue with that statement? Today GMM are reporting that Horner has moved to quell speculation on the 2014 Red Bull line up stating, “We stand behind this team and will be having a conversation with Mark later in the summer.”
Of course there is still room for manoeuvre in those sentiments, yet this is the strongest comment from Horner on the matter this year, and should Ferrari have already decided to retain Massa for 2014 then Webber has accumulated 50% more points than the number two driver at Ferrari.
The reasoning Dominicali gave for sticking with the 2013 line up is that there are so many changes coming in 2014, a new driver simply adds another variable for the team to consider and manage.
However, Mark Webber is 37 this year and he may decide it is time to hang up his boots. Then again, most F1 racing drivers in the modern era will admit they would have continued for longer given the option, and most of them were not driving a championship winning car.
So our Johnny may once again be proven wrong, as he was following his call for Grosjean to be ‘thrown out of the sport’ in Spa 2012.
Infiniti Red Bull Infiniti???
This story has been around for some time, so here’s a quick review.
Infiniti began its relationship with Red Bull following the teams first title wins in 2010. In 2011 they signed an extension to that agreement and speculation grew that the Renault engines run by the Milton Keynes team would be rebranded as Infiniti.
Teams, title sponsors and engine suppliers usually follow the following format when registering the team with the FIA. Vodafone, McLaren, Mercedes, so we waited with baited breath to see if the 2012 entrant was registered Red Bull Infiniti – it was not.
F1 teams running with rebranded engines is not a new concept. McLaren ran Porsche engines labelled TAG, Sauber have used Peteronas badged Ferrari engines, Cosworth units have been supplied under the Ford name and Mercedes engines were in fact originally manufactured by Ilmor.
So the concept of a Renault engine, badged as Infiniti is hardly shiny and new. The speculation once again grew that the 2013 team from Milton Keynes would be known as Red Bull Infiniti, it is in fact Infiniti Red Bull
In November 2012 Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn told Autosport, “No. We don’t want any confusion at the level of the alliance between who does what. Renault changed and adapted its strategy in 2008 where most of the [manufacturer] teams went out of F1 and Renault stayed.
Instead of being a one-team player we wanted to be a multi-team player by being at the heart of the competition – which is an engine. Having Renault supplying today one third of all the cars running, and being for the third year in a row champion with Red Bull, is a validation of the strategy we have taken.”
Ghosn went on to observe that the Renault car manufacturer maybe missing a marketing trick. “The only point that is missing now is the link between what Renault is doing in F1 and the cars we are putting on the markets. This link will be through three particular points that we want to emphasise and you are going to see through the efforts of Renault marketing cars – technological innovation, fuel efficiency and reliability.
These are the three points that everyone can see in F1, that we are selling and trying to market in different markets.
Infiniti, as a premium car producer and marketer, associating its name to Red Bull-Renault, through thorough and sophisticated marketing efforts, brings the awareness of the Infiniti brand higher and reaches a level that we were targeting.”
Ok, thank you Mr. Renault. But matters become as clear as mud when we realise Ghosn is also Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance which is a strategic partnership overseeing the two companies through a unique cross-shareholding agreement.
Whichever hat he’s wearing it appears Carlos is pretty adamant Infiniti badged Red Bull Renault engines will not happen, yet the story won’t go away.
AMuS ran a story during the Monaco GP to which purported, “Next year, Infiniti is paying the Renault engine bill and wants advertising in return”. Alain Prost at that time revealed the Renault engine spend was 150m euro a year, shared amongst 4 teams, and this increased speculation of Infiniti’s involvement in funding.
Despite various denials, AMuS is persisting with the story today claiming, “The Renault V6 in the 2014 Red Bull will not only be called Infiniti but “Infiniti’s technology will also be in the package. The Japanese want to participate in the development of the hybrid elements.”
Other aspects to the AMuS story include the speculation that with the new Infiniti branding at Red Bull, Renault would pick another F1 team as its ‘premium powered by Renault’ partner. They suggest Williams were favourite however of course they have now joined the Mercedes fold.
During the Montreal GP weekend, Auto123 reported Andreas Sigl, Global Director, Infiniti Formula One dismissing out of hand the rumour of Infiniti branded Red Bull Renault engines.
“We have no intentions of rebranding the Renault V6 turbo engines next year. When we came into the sport, some people expected us to rebadge the current V8 Renault engine. We refused to do it because the fans and the public in general are no fools and we didn’t want to create confusion with a simple rebrand.
We certainly didn’t want to put decals on the cam covers and tell the world ‘this is an Infiniti engine. Additionally, being the title sponsor of the Red Bull team has been highly profitable [as] it is a very good return on the investment”.
Sigl concludes, “When we started in F1 in 2011, very few people outside of North America knew what Infiniti was; that it was a performance and premium brand, making luxury cars.
his awareness has grown tremendously thanks to our partnership with Red Bull Racing”,
So who knows what will happen. The famous words of someone I refuse to recall are bouncing around in my head now…. “To Infinity and beyond” – and maybe that is exactly the point or not.
My guess is AMuS just don’t know when to let a good story die.
Is up down? Right,wrong? Maybe black is really white
Adam Cooper today reports Mr. E’s views on Tyregate. “Wait until the tribunal, they’ve got all the facts. If you offer me stolen goods, it’s up to me to decide whether I want to accept them or not. It’s not up to anyone to tell me what I should do. I should know what I should do”.
Ecclestone of course is not best inclined towards Mercedes yet even so this is an interesting choice of analogy. He of course is accused of bribing a German banking official – who is now serving time based on evidence he received money from Ecclestone.
Bernie’s defence has been that ‘the bribe’ – defined as existing in German case law because Gibrowsky is now in prison – was in fact not a bribe but a payment to silence the German banker from blabbing to the UK tax authorities about alleged tax evasion by Ecclestone.
Well I suppose the world is indeed now run by the rules of moral relativism, unless you are Bild or the Sun newspapers of course.
Apparently in Bernie’s world whilst he sees Mercedes as receiving an illegal opportunity, miraculously he continues saying “Pirelli were doing the right thing, obviously. They couldn’t get out of a tyre problem, if there had been proper testing, which there should be, they wouldn’t be in this problem. It’s only because there’s no proper testing that they’re in this problem. As people have been complaining, the obvious thing to do was to get out of it by testing. And they asked.”
So Bernie knows the FIA were involved – somehow via someone. Cooper then asks him, had Pirelli in his view done anything wrong, Ecclestone replies, “Not at all.”
Adam suggests FOM’s support of Pirelli may be because they have a significant commercial deal with for trackside advertising of the Italian Tyre manufacturer’s brand. Bernie says, “I don’t care. It makes no difference to me. What is right is right, you know. The one thing an unmarried girl has got is the right to say ‘no.’ You would have to reckon that Mercedes were in that position…”
I presume Mr. E may not know that the law in the UK has changed and a married woman too has the right to say NO – since a ruling in 1991 from my friends in the House of Lords
When asked about whether his adversary Jean Todt is lining up Michelin to replace Pirelli for 2014, Bernie purports to have “No idea. I haven’t got a clue. I haven’t spoken to anyone. We have a long-term contract with Pirelli, as the FIA do. And I think most of the teams have – I think they’ve done a deal with all the teams they want to do a deal with.”
Fair enough…. Sorry………… WHAT was that? Who has a long term contract with Pirelli? And what is about that about ‘the teams they want to deal with’? Are Red Bull going to have to find their own tyres or run on the rims???
It’s always a pleasant break with reality when chatting to Bernie – and we’ll miss him when he’s gone.
Pirelli confirm tyres for June and July
Pirelli have issued a statement saying, The tyre construction will remain unchanged, contrary to Pirelli’s initial plans. This decision is due to the fact that the new tyres, which were brought to the Friday free practice sessions in Canada, could not be tested sufficiently due to rain – and that the teams failed to agree unanimously about introducing the changes. Instead a change in the tyre production process should now ensure that the delamination issue has been addressed”.
The tyres for Silverstone will be hard/medium, for the Nurburgring the medium & soft and for Hungary it will be hard/medium as for the British GP.
In 2012 the Silverstone selection was Silverstone – hard/soft, the German GP was at a different circuit and Hungary had the medium/soft compounds. This then represents a conservative approach to the tyre selection for both 2013 races, however the tyres are softer this year anyway.
One F1 team will be crash testing their 2014 car monocoque chassis in the near future.
Silverstone ticket sales not going well.
Just over 14 days from now the cars will take to the track at the home of Formula 1 – Silverstone. The British Grand Prix tends to attract the biggest crowds of the year but following the monsoon type weather of 2012 and the general economic downturn in Europe, 2013 sales are lagging behind where the race organisers would hope them to be.
Only the Copse grandstand is completely sold out and tickets can still be obtained for the International pit straight opposite the new Silverstone wing.
For those adopting a wait and see on how the weather will pan out, the 14 day forecast is unhelpful. Monday to the Sunday of the race is described as follows, “A mixed week is expected. In southern regions some showers or longer spells of rain are likely at times, but there should also be some fine and pleasantly warm weather. In the north and west there is likely to be more emphasis on unsettled weather, with a greater risk of rain. Temperatures close to average in the north, but possibly on the warm side at times further south”.