Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 14 June 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 10:36 10:52 12:21 15:41

Force India leading the call for change

With the budget they have, you could argue the team based in Silverstone is the F1 2013 team of the year to date. They have a rapid car and a dedicated group of employees. Yet at times TJ13 has been critical of Force India, mainly due to the alleged hypocrisy and duplicity of their principal.

Mallya has been promising riches untold will be invested in the team and this included their own wind tunnel which has been ‘in planning’ now some 4 years. No wind tunnel appeared and TJ13 revealed this week it will now not be built. Yet, hard working and likable Yorkshire grit that is Bob Fernly is pressing for change in exchange for the increased in season testing the other teams require.

The vote was close, 6 teams to 5 agreed to the 4, 2 day in season European tests in 2014 yet this is enough to ask the FIA to consider changing the regulations. Fernley argues they and other smaller teams cannot afford to go to all of these test days and wants an alternative, suggesting, “We could agree to exchange testing time for additional time in the wind tunnel”.

Bob would like to see this matter pushed further and harder. “We are of the view that it was right in terms of cost reduction, to limits the time in the wind tunnel. But the current agreement does not go far enough. At the moment it looks like teams will be able to use their wind tunnels to about 60 or 65 percent capacity, but we want to get to 50 percent.

Ideally, it should be such that two teams can share a wind tunnel., The owner of the plant has an optimum capacity utilization and revenue, the customer has sufficient access to such a tool. “

Excellent thinking sir! And Vijay, give that man a bonus he’s about to save you $75m. Seriously, this is indeed a worthy proposition. Wind tunnels are ridiculously expensive and the smaller teams can’t afford one. It would not be too difficult to regulate that wind tunnel sharing is mandatory, and therefore reduces costs for the bigger budget team too.

Force India are currently upgrading the CFD to 3 times the capacity it has at present, so their commitment to this approach is clear. Further, as a team it is vital they perform well in the constructor’s table as annual revenue cash provided by Vijay is only equivalent to that of a sponsor who would display the kind of brands Kingifsher currently provides.

Who knows what will happen if Diageo complete the acquisition of United spirits and the associated brands which in effect currently sponsor Force India.

International Tribunal

We now know next Thursday 20th June is when D-Day begins for Mercedes and Pirelli, yet nobody is explaining the protocol’s for the International Tribunal (IT). Ferrari and Red Bull protested Mercedes/Pirelli prior to the Monaco GP, the Monaco race stewards unable to deal with the matter sent it to the FIA disciplinary body. They referred it to the external and ‘independent’ IT.

TJ13 has learned that Ferrari have requested to be present and the opportunity to speak. They propose to send a team of lawyers headed by Peter Henry to the hearing. Red Bull are expected to do the same and it is believed the International Tribunal or the FIA will approve these requests.

Who owns what?

TJ13 was speaking this week with a representative from Silverstone, and they are not sure at present whether they are allowed to open they’re gates to the public for the planned young driver test 17-19th July. The problem appears to be confusion as to who owns the commercial rights.

Whitmarsh is quoted in the German media today saying, “when we test together, he [Ecclestone] holds the [commercial] rights.”

Yet TJ13 discussed this at length with a well known senior F1 personality last year. The topic for debate was the Jerez test of 2011, where the final 2 days fell on a Saturday and Sunday and some 30-40,000 people turned up.

This was unique in modern F1 testing history, never have such numbers in been seen. TJ13 was informed, the teams used to pay the circuits £80,000 a day for testing. Then the circuits then began charging fans an entrance fee, so the teams now pay nothing and the commercial opportunity is there for the circuits to make some well deserved cash.

Whitmarsh believes these in season testing days will offer some opportunity to generate revenue which could be used to help the smaller teams. However, nobody appears to have thought this through properly. F1 cars testing in the days following an F1 race may adversely affect the circuit revenues at the weekend.

So Antonio, fan of Alonso about to cough up £150 for a ticket to the Spanish GP thinks to himself. “Why am I going to the race? Mmm. I like the noise, smell and sounds of F1 cars and you can’t get that from watching on TV”. Yet he similarly realises without FanVision, it can be difficult to follow the gazillions of pit stops and who is where and racing whom.

Antonio is a smart lad from Barcelona, he decides, “I’ll watch the race on TV and then I can see the cars testing on Tuesday for the price of ten euro’s, plus they’ll be cars on track for the best part of 7 hours. I can walk the entire circuit sit in different grandstands for free – how cool is that?” The circuits could be worse off.

The teams will have additional income opportunities as they’re PR people can host more of the world’s well heeled individuals during the test days and charge  a good whack for it. Yet this is still peanuts when looking at an F1 teams revenue.

So is there really much commercial opportunity for the circuits and the teams. Probably not. Who owns the commercial rights? Probably Ecclestone.

Further, part of the attraction for fans attending pre-season tests is seeing the new cars. Will in season testing have the same pull? Will we see 10,000 people dashing to Silverstone? Probably not – and if so it will be at the expense of race ticket sales.

Comment of the week so far

Having opened ourselves up to the mindless delight of ‘thumbs down creature’ – and I use the noun most loosely – I have found the top 10 comments (all time, week, day) useful when reviewing what has been said. We can extend this to 15 or 20, I believe, if that pleases the court attendees.

Anyway, leading the comment of the month so far is from Tim Burgess. Daily #F1 News June 4th reports Martin Whitmarsh questioning the worth of the huge spend on the new engines and the worth of this to potential manufacturers

Tim observes dryly, Well, if this one aspect of the new engine formula isn’t road-relevant, thank goodness that all the wings and aero stuff that the teams spend 100′s of millions on year after year are road-relevant then…..oh, wait…..

Seriously – why is it that high costs for engines are seen as “bad” and even higher costs for aero are seen as “good”?

And that gets a thumbs up from me too!

I know most of you out there don’t comment (the site stats tell me that), and it may appear there are just around 30 or so who do – that number is in fact 77 different people in the past 4 weeks. Join in (and ignore the thumbs down). Sometimes the most interesting viewpoints come from those who speak little.

Part of growing TJ13 is reliant upon you the readers and your interaction. When people visit a site for the first time, if they see a healthy debate going in the comments – it grabs their attention and they stick around. Help us spread the word about TJ13.

5 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 14 June 2013

  1. Ferrari are expected to send lawyers to the hearing? Are you serious?

    Well it’s Ferrari International Assistance all over again. Under what grounds exactly are they going? This is a joke!

    • It was reported some days ago that the procedure allows all other teams to send representatives. Actually I believe it was discussed during the Canadian GP’s Friday press conference… Ferrari said they weren’t sending anobody though.

  2. Wait a minute… Common sense proposal that would save everyone money and result in better racing for all? Doesn’t have a chance. /cynicism

  3. It seems Ferrari and RB are saying they don’t trust the IT to be able to examine the ‘facts’ unless they are there to explain them. The two teams have made their protest, and presumably submitted their feelings. As a result the FIA / IT is examining the matter.
    It seems to me Ferrari and RB doth protest too much. If they don’t like the outcome on the 20th that can always appeal – then…!

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