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OMG – what next? (11:31)
Mark Webber’s 5 must haves (12:25)
Ferrari: Deny, deny deny (13:31)
Sauber: ‘The plan’ is evolving (15:58)
Max not quite got a grip (17:35)
Yesterdays news links below…
Be careful what you wish for (11:49) UPDATED (18:00) video added
Alonso/Ferrari rift grows (12:54)
Ferrari offer to Raikkonen (13:57)
Tost wants Ricciardo to stay (15:06)
Pedro gets race fit (15:13)
F1 calendar 2014: part 3 of…. (15:46)
Comment of the month (16:17)
Caption of the day (17:30)
The battle for F1 journalistic control
The Concorde agreement is more complex than writing a reasonable sized nations constitution. There are broadly, the teams , the FIA and Bernie’s mob (FOM – CVC – Delta Topca et al), yet each team will have varied terms – that gives us 13 parties to the agreement.
The there will be other institutions powers acknowledged and key suppliers like the tyre manufacturer. The Concorde agreement is like the ‘Holy Grail’, at times no one is even sure it exists and certainly nobody except Bernie (and his crew) ever see’s the document in its entirety, because there a hundreds of addendums and special provisions in an attempt to cover every eventuality.
Like between good and evil, there has been a struggle for time and memorium between the FIA and Ecclestone over who decides what – a battle for CONTROL. The only difference between the philosophical forces we see as good and evil is that these 2 are more like – ‘bad’ and ‘worse than bad’.
One of the plethora of disputes between the FIA and FOM – which is why we have no Concorde agreement 7 months after the last one expired – is over who governs the F1 media. Currently there is a Press council appointed by the FIA on which James Allen sits with I believe 2 other respected F1 media guru’s of and they decide who gets accreditation for what.
When speaking with James last year, he told me that the number of ‘annual accredited’ F1 independent journalists had collapsed over the past few years. These are the Joe Sawards of this world who earn a crust, writing their own blogs, maybe doing one for the New York Times, selling a few magazines etc – but in effect they are self-employed. It costs them about $50,000 pa to travel the world and be at each of the F1 circus events, and that is on a meagre budget. That price doesn’t get you flash hotels and $100 meals in fine eating establishments etc – cf. the room pictures I posted from John Noble during the Monaco GP weekend.
Many of the journalists you will see for example on the FIA press conference are local and only apply for accreditation for their own GP. TJ13 currently has made an application for one of our ‘On This Day’ writers to attend the Spa weekend in a few weeks. We’ll tell you more if we are successful.
As we all know the FIA are trying to extract a few dollars more out of Bernie’s billions and one of Mr. E’s negotiating points has been to request FOM control who has press accreditation and where they can go and who they can speak to. The written press is already herded like sheep from one F1 star personality to another, having to thrust their dictaphones onto a table surrounded by others all desperate to catch pearls of wisdom from Christian, Ross Jenson et. al.
Alternatively, you can get a 30 minute private exclusive with the likes of Van de Garde and Gutierrez – as easy as pie.
The facilities for the press at many of the circuits are from the 19th century. They get a large sweaty rooms, maybe no air conditioning when the temperatures inside are way over 40 degrees, the place often stinks of stale cigar and cigarette smoke and the internet connections are of ‘dial up’ band width – for which there may be a charge.
The problem for these guys and gals is that, so desperate are the F1 galactico’s (team bosses, drivers…) for their own media coverage, they give the TV media all the time in the world and tell them most of anything juicy that’s worth hearing.
German F1 writer Michael Schmidt recently wrote a piece which explained that Ecclestone wanted to put print journalists “on a short leash” after some teams and suppliers “complained about critical articles”.
We no know that despite signing up the Hungaroring until 2022 a number of other things were agreed and Schmidt writes today that the new Concorde agreement does now in fact enshrine the principle of a ‘free press’, with the FIA remaining in charge of who get’s paddock access and who does not.
In this case and at this time – for a change – we must ‘thank Todt for small mercies’.
OMG – what next?
(Very deep breath – in fact the deepest of breath’s) Maranello aerodynamicists – with large foreheads – who are bored because their wind tunnel is broken have per chance whilst messing around with some science stuff discovered a way of resurrecting people from the dead and rejuvenating their bodies back to youthfulness. The Italian media reports, Fangio has been exhumed and will be driving for Ferrari in 2014.
Okay here were go.
La Republicca is reporting Anthony Hamilton has been to Maranello this week. Of course he no longer manages his son’s career or that of Paul di Resta so we can exclude those as reasons for the visit…. or can we???? The Italian rag continues to report Hamiton Senior has “private meetings”, and then went to dinner with person’s unnamed to the famous Montana restaurant.
Why could this be? Maybe he believes he can be part of the new Mercedes style hierarchy in the Italian racing team, or maybe he’s negotiating a discount on a ‘La Ferrari’.
As if this isn’t enough, La Gazetta reveals that Jenson Button is in hot demand for the Ferrari head hunters and is a realistic prospect to become a driver for ‘the reds’ in 2014.
Having suffered the excitation humiliation of his local team being invaded by Russia (Russian readers please this is no xenophobia being expressed – just humour), Roger Benoit finds amusement in it all commenting in Blick, “Only Schumacher’s comeback is missing now!”
I’ve saved the best one until last. The usual banal, bland, plastic humourless Christian (I’ve got a German footprint on my forehead) Horner comments in the Dutch media over driver “Yes… No….” (which is how he begins every sentence) “Nigel Mansell is a very good driver”.
I am having visions of Rocky on the radio to Vettel in Malaysia 2014, (hiss…crackle…stacatto speak) “Seb…..Seb do you copy?” (hiss.. crackle, slightly wailing childlike voice – a bit wobbly) “Yes….I can ….hear you”.
Rocky: “Seb… you are 1.2 seconds clear… (hiss crackle)….. out of DRS……. but Red 5 is gaining fast…….”
Why not eh…..Nigel?
Il Padrino gets really really serious
More from the fabulous sniffP
Mark Webber’s 5 must haves
We don’t often do this sort of thing, but it’s light hearted and as everyone knows “TJ13 is a blinkered Mark Webber lover” 😉
Mountain-biking has been part of my training regime for a long time and it’s a discipline that features heavily each year in my charity adventure race in Tasmania.
I’m fortunate that I live in the Chilterns in the UK so I have a lot of good mountain biking territory on my back door and even now after all these years, I’m still discovering new terrain.
It’s a bit frustrating that a lot of routes I’ve been using for years have been closed to mountain-biking; I’d like to think the majority of mountain-bikers are considerate and courteous to fellow users that they share the tracks and trails with such as dog walkers and hikers, and that they are sympathetic to the environment so I’m not really sure what the issue is.
That’s very important for me to be able to train, go out and enjoy the elements, feel that I am alive. It’s certainly something I need all the time.
It’s my guilty pleasure and in particular Green & Black’s organic chocolate. I’m pretty good with my diet 99.9% of the time but every now and again, I have a bit of a binge session!
It’s obviously not too big a secret, as I’ve got an Austrian fan who would send me huge packages of European chocolate regularly via the team!
I was forever sharing it out as it was impossible to get through. Dark chocolate is my weakness but since it’s not as sweet as milk chocolate, it’s not so bad!
When I first met my partner Ann, she was amazed that I could polish off a whole slab of chocolate in one session. I have to say the chocolate in Europe is probably the nicest anywhere in the world.
I love spending time with my two dogs; Simba (Rhodesian Ridgeback) and Shadow (Weimaraner), they are absolutely brilliant.
My family had dogs when I was growing up in Australia but a lot of them were farm dogs on the property so although they were cared for very well, they were there to do a job so they weren’t pets and didn’t live indoors with us.
It was only when I came to the UK that I saw how passionate the British are about their pets and how they’re very much a major part of their lives. My family are amazed whenever they visit and see how spoilt my two dogs are.
Simba and Shadow are incredibly loyal, they’re best mates with each other and they can lift my mood when I’ve had a rough day; the bond is very strong. I get a sense of protection when I’m with the dogs who are always looking out for me.
One of the first things I do when I return home from a race weekend, win, lose or draw, is to take the dogs out for an evening stroll by myself. It’s a great way of unwinding.
Everyone in the house knows when I’m back because as soon as I see the dogs the sound they make is quite impressive. Simba is especially vocal as he tries to tell me everything he’s been up to while I’ve been away!
The lifestyle I lead sends me all over the world so timing is important to me. My Edifice watch makes my life easier with its Wave Ceptor Technology as it accurately and easily adjusts to the time zone I am in.
F1 is all about timing and we operate to a very tight schedule which means I can’t be late for anything. Our guys have worked closely with Casio on the design and functionalities to adapt the watch to our needs in the racing environment.
Noosa in Australia
Although I don’t get to spend a huge amount of time there, spending time at my house in Noosa is an important fix in my life and something I couldn’t live without these days.
The house is nestled in trees on the edge of a national park and it’s a fairly common occurrence to have koalas right outside the window next to views of some of the most beautiful coastline in Australia.
It’s the most stunning natural environment you could wish for. I used to visit Noosa a lot before I got the house there, but it makes a big difference having my own place. I love the fact I can go down for a surf in the morning; it’s a great way to start the day, being in the ocean. Or even running along the coastal paths.
Though I haven’t quite bought into the Noosa habit of rising at 4am to start the day and the early dinners, which is so different to Europe!
TJ13 comment: Hey thanks for all the F1 memories Mark. We’ll miss you and your honest straight talking in 2014.
Sochi misses FIA deadline: 2014 calendar part 4 of……
In the endless war between Le Presidente and Bernie another opportunity has fallen nicely into the Frenchman’s lap. The deadline for circuits to apply to the FIA for approval to be included on the following years calendar is 31st July.
Due to another battle raging between the Sochi promoter and the Russian Motorsports Association, the latter refused to lodge the appropriate paperwork on time. The dispute includes matters like, who should be responsible for the recruitment and training and pay of the marshals amongst other matters vital to the continued existence of the world as we know it.
So what does this mean? No Russian GP for Bernie? Will the coffers of the hard up CVC et al be hit once again?
Russian publication R Sport says,
“The calendar is approved at the end of September,” an FIA spokeswoman told R-Sport without giving her name. She refused to comment on the case of the Russian Grand Prix specifically, citing confidentiality, but confirmed that a failure to apply more than a year in advance would not necessarily damage an event’s chances of being admitted.”
You’ve got to laugh, how did this information come to light?
Russian F1 promoter: Hello. is that the FIA?
FIA telephonist: Oiu monsieur. Paris here.
Russian F1 promotor: Aha. Can I speak to the person who deals with track registration for next year please.
FIA telephonist: I’m sorry sir, they are all out a lunch. It’s Tuesday you know.
Russian F1 promoter: Okay, when will they be back? Do you know please?
FIA telephonist: (smiles knowingly) I did tell you it was Tuesday sir. That means they go for lunch and then finish for the day.
Russian F1 promoter: I see. I’ll call tomorrow but it is an urgent matter with tomorrow being the deadline we just cannot miss.
FIA telephonist: I’m sorry sir, tomorrow is Wednesday and they will not be able to help you
Russian F1 promoter: (getting a little desperate) So why is that please?
FIA telephonist: On Wednesday they go for breakfast and then finish early for the day….. Can I help.
Russian promoter explains his predicament.
FIA telephonist: Oh I understand clearly sir. I do know the calendar isn’t formalised until September. (voice drops) Please don’t say anything but I know rules here are just broken all the time if enough cash arrives in a brown envelope. (chirpy) Hope that helps, sir.
FIA telephonist: I’m sorry sir, I can’t give that information out. It’s confidential.
Call ends. The beautiful – but masculine dressed – Femme Fatale reclines backward in her chair, crosses her legs slowly and strokes the white Persian cat on her knee called ‘Bernie’
Ferrari: Deny, deny deny
It is about to become an interesting time for Ferrari’s new head of communications, Renato Bisignani. He is 7 months into the job after the teams old pitbull media warrior was banished to the sub-continent to write magazines about Ferrari’s for Indian farmers to read.
(extract from TJ13 Jan 14th 2013)
Luca Colajanni ex-Scuderia head of communications for Ferrari F1, just after Christmas was ‘offered’ and accepted a move to the car division and a ‘Europe/Middle East’ role, he will be replaced by Renato Bisignani. It is delightfully ironic that Ferrari have just bumped this out there, nothing on the website and no explanation. Communication indeed.
Luca was the guy who would appear on TV usually when there was some Ferrari crisis that meant Stefano could not be present. Byron Young of the Daily Mirror commented, “Sad to see Colajanni go. He’s a nice guy, quality PR man with real style. Ferrari man to his core who could (and did) argue black was white.”
The Times correspondent Kevin Eason tweeted, “So farewell Luca Collajani, Ferrari’s top PR man. Top guy and much liked even after he put me on the naughty step once”. Palermo-born Luca has been writing about Ferrari and motorsports since the early 1990s. He was the driving force behind the early Ferrari websites and has headed the Ferrari motorsports press office for several years.
For those who have read the secret Ferrari insider column, clearly written by someone senior in the F1 team, may believe Luca Colajanni was behind the ‘horses head’.
Having pondered matters for a while, I began thinking back to Japan when the whole wind tunnel affair became public knowledge. Stefano Dominicali’s oblique comments suggesting the F1 car development would be fine for the rest of the year and that ‘the wind tunnel will not become an excuse for Ferrari engineers’, I noted appeared strange at the time.
The following week we then had the wind tunnel thesis on the Ferrari.com website and the subsequent Fernando row with Pat Fry in Korea – when Alonso allegedly threatened to text the world and tell us his car had no new aero development since May.
I mentioned a few times back then that I would love to know who decided what went out on Ferrari.com because it seemed a bit of a free for all – vying sides of the political debates seemed to all appear to be having their say. Wonderful for us! Maybe this is why Luca has been ‘offered’ a move out of F1 and into the car division.
Anyway, who is Bisignani?….. (full article click here)
In his first firefighting exercise for the Scuderia, Bisignani tells Brazilian publication Estado that the rumours about Kimi being made an offer by Ferrari are “the typical fantasy at this time of year. They are completely unfounded and we are united in a present in finding the reasons for the the loss of competitiveness and confident we will return to better ways.”
AMuS however reports Steve Robertson, Ki8mi’s manager, was photographed entering the Ferrari hospitality suite in Hungary.
Bisignani turns on the German press saying, “German journalists called us about the (Raikkonen) news, and we have officially denyied it.”
DPA news agency suggests the heard from a contact at Ferrari, “For all those with short memories only a year ago everyone came up with a list of drivers who would replace Felipe.”
Well Indeed Renato, we do remember that. We also remember how Kimi took up his option on a contract extensions for 2010 and Ferrari denied consistently Alonso would join them in 2010. In fact Ferrari confirmed Kimi’s contract extension, but he still mysteriously retired at the end of 2009 and Alonso DID begin driving for Ferrari in 2010.
Sauber: ‘The plan’ is evolving
Yesterday, we reported that Sauber had come out from their bunker and begun to explain matters surrounding the Russian investment deal. We heard from Monisha Kaltenborn that she believed the company would have survived without it, inferring is was a positive choice the team was making to enter into the partnership.
Now we are hearing from Monisha a little more about ‘the plan’ which has been previously threadbare in detail.
The day of the announcement, we were led to believe from Sergey Sirotkin’s old fella, that his son would be getting a drive for Sauber on a number of Free Practice 1’s – on Friday – this year.
TJ13 raised the matter of the super license, which is still as yet unresolved. Kaltenborn informs us now that Sergey will in fact not drive in any FP1’s this year, “That is not going to be an option, because he doesn’t have the super license. We have to see what kind of possibilities we have.”
This will presumably be work in the simulator and maybe as TJ13 suggested the other day, a drive in an older car. Yet Sirotkin is still adamant he will be one of Sauber’s 2 drivers in 2014. He tells Motorsport Aktuell: “I will have to wait. The plan is that I will be sitting in the car in early 2014, for the first official tests.”
The debate has raged in the continental F1 press over the age of the young Russian and Hamilton who was 22 when he stepped into his first McLaren F1 race car commented, “I wasn’t ready at 18”, adding, “and I was pretty good at 18.”
Ferrari sponsor withdraws funding for Wroom
Ferrari’s pre-season Wrooom has been cancelled from 2014. The gathering of the rich and famous from the world of MotoGP and F1 which takes places on the Italian ski slopes in the resort of Madonna di Campiglio will be no more.
Philip Morris sponsor of Ducati and Ferrari who host the event claim that this decision has been taken for financial reasons.
Corriere dello Sport newspaper reports Philip Morris vice president Maurizio Arrivabene saying, “The costs of the event are no longer sustainable, therefore we are forced to remove it from our schedule of activities”.
Tiziano Mellarini, Minister of Tourism, Trentino adds, “It is a decision that saddens us but we understand in light of the current economic crisis. It was an event with important international impact.”
Wroom has been held every January for 23 years.
Max not quite got a grip
A reader sent me this from another site entitled ‘fan wars’. I presume there was a debate going on about how out of his depth Max Chilton is.
Season: Jules Bianchi 10 – Max Chilton 0
Max Chilton was only 0.2 behind Bianchi after qualifying but at times it’s still like Carry On F1 for Max.
In practice we got…
Max: The engine’s gone
Engineer: Find a safe place to park up…
Engineer: (Who can see from the telemetry that it’s still working) Is the engine okay, Max?
Max: I think I might have pressed the pitlane speed limiter by mistake…
The earthquake appears to be in the ice
TJ13 has a strong source informing us that Ferrari have indeed done a deal for a new driver. Bild made similar claims earlier this week and in response a Ferrari spokesman stated to DPA News Agency, “Ferrari have no interest in the driver market right now”
Ferrari don’t openly and blatantly lie, The team is steeped in F1 history and in many ways is the big brother amongst the rest of the competitor’s. Ferrari also know they are ‘the brand’, an a historic international racing marque of no euqal and wish to be perceived to act with honour and a sense of being true to their values.
This means at times it’s fascinating unpicking exactly how they express themselves when they’re in a bit of a tight spot and need to speak, but be careful what they say. Of when they used to just publish statements in Italian, expert translators are required to convey the most precise of the semantic meaning
If Kimi were to have already signed for Ferrari for 2014, then of course on Wednesday Ferrari could deny they have no present interest in the driver market – because the deal is concluded.
Kimi to Ferrari – for all the reasons we’ve discussed between us this week – would indeed be a 9.0 or more on the F1 Richter scale.
Now all that we have to work out is who will be along side Kimi… Mmm.