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Sauber’s Russian investment 06:44 (Updated 17:00)
Sochi’s problems solved? 11:40
Sauber’s Russian investment
Earlier this week TJ13 reported that there has been a delay in the money coming from Sauber’s new Russian investors. Since it became public knowledge that the deal has not been done yet a number of people close to the deal has come out to say they are making progress but the deal is not done yet.
Nikolay Vetrov, manager of Sergey Sirotkin, confirmed the holdup.”Yes, we have not had time to implement the all of the planned ambitious programme,” he told the f1news.ru website, “but otherwise everything is going according to plan.”
Sirotkin’s father Oleg also confirmed the delay in the Sauber deal. “Indeed, we are still in the implementation phase of our agreement of intent,” he said. “We are preparing all the relevant documents, and it takes quite a long time. We have a plan, we’re moving on it, we are somewhat behind in some areas, somewhat ahead in others.“
So you are not anywhere really?
“What I would say is that this procedure is more technical than political. In general, we do not see any big problems, but there will be a slight shift in the timing.”
Could the ‘technical’ aspect be the fact that young Sirotkin does not have a super license? Let us hope Sauber has a plan B… and maybe a C as well.
According an interview ESPN had with Kaltenborn, the first payment as part of the deal with their investors has already been received and their drivers paid. When asked what the first thing is they will do with the arrival of the new funds, maybe pay the drivers Kaltenborn said, “Well this has already happened, given that the contract is in place and we are very happy and relieved for that”.
With the news that some money has been received suppliers are knocking on the door yet again. One supplier, Ferrari, who is demanding at least €9 million for the 2013 engines by the end of August or will shut off the supply of engines, has yet to be paid.
Would it not make sense to pay your main suppliers before you pay your drivers?
Vettel’s influence is minimal
Christian Horner is quoted as saying in an interview with ‘Sporting Life’ that despite publically stating in Hungary that he would prefer Kimi over Fernando, Sebastian Vettel will not try to influence the teams decision for a successor of Mark Webber. “Seb has no problems taking on any driver and has not expressed any preference. He knows both Kimi and Daniel.”
The exception of Alonso from that statement is poignant. It’s curious the U-turn that the team has taken with this matter, given in the aftermath of Seb’s comments there was bullish reply of ‘we’re in charge, not Seb’. Similar to the stance which Vettel first took after Sepang; changing from not really being aware as to what he had done ‘wrong’, to being fully aware and unashamed.
Continuing, Horner also promises equal treatment, but immediately modifies the statement by stating that if one driver at some (unspecified) point has more points than the other, the team focus will shift. “It depends on what they do on the track. That decides, who is the lead driver and who’s not. The team leader will be he, who has more points at the appropriate time.”
Ultimately, the race for the second RB seat in 2014 is going to boil down to who is willing to play second fiddle to Vettel or who can beat him in a car tailored to his needs. Taking a back seat role is something it is hard to see Alonso or Raikkonen doing, especially when history goes against Alonso for this (think back to 2007).
Sochi’s problems solved?
The 26°C that Sochi is enjoying at the moment is not the only thing that seems to be shining at present. The bureaucratic tussle with the Russian Motorsports Federation caused Sotchi to miss the FIA deadline for next year. The reason for this was down to a disagreement between the track owners and the authorities, about who would bear the costs to educate the trackside personnel. Despite that, knowing about the relevance of F1’s debut on Russian soil, both sides are now working together to save Sochi’s slot on the 2014 calendar.
Famous track lobotomizer, Hermann Tilke, assures that the track is going to be finished on time. “We are on time with the construction. Everything will be fine. I don’t know much about the bureaucratic background. We just care about the construction.”
Meanwhile the deputy chief of Omega, the track owner company, Zabara assures in an interview with ‘Sports Express’ that FIA will get the papers very soon. “We will sign a contract with the Federation this week, before we send our application to the FIA, but we already have an agreement.”
So it seems even if you miss a deadline, you can still enter as long as you phone ahead to say you’ll be late. Sometimes the sport begs the question, Where else but F1?
Of course, Sochi has been aided by other GPs being in doubt, but it is noticeable how keen FOM are to go to the final one of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Ear-marked as being the countries to watch out for due to their rapidly expanding economies, the sooner all of these GPs can be secured, the more secure F1’s position, as a truly global sport, will be. The next step will be to (once again) have an Indian driver on the grid, and to secure a race seat for a Chinese driver.
To date, the only Chinese Formula One driver to have taken part in a race weekend is Ma Qing Hua, who took part as a Friday FP1 driver, for the now defunct HRT team in 2012, and Caterham team in 2013. Ma is currently competing in the GP2 series for the Caterham Racing team.
India’s absence ‘not good’
Sir Jackie Stewart has shot a warning message towards the Indian GP organisers, Jaypee. Sitting out next year’s Formula One calendar is “not a good message” being sent according the former triple World Champion.
With pressure mounting on Bernie Ecclestone to limit the calendar to 20 races, sitting out in 2014, due to what is described as a scheduling matter, is far less than ideal. Space on the calendar is already highly competitive, and sitting out a year cannot aid the GP’s chance of being a continuing success.
Speaking to the India-Asian news service, Stewart said “F1 has been able to handle the issue in every other country we go to — whether it’s Hungary, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia or China.” He indicated the real issue is about tax and customs. ‘Playing chicken’ is never a good idea, especially not with the likes of Bernie Ecclestone.
Stewart continued, “It is certainly not a good message the Indian Grand Prix is sending out to the motor sports world, and is not positive for India’s image when questions are raised about it.”
With spectator numbers having dropped from 95,000 for the inaugural race in 2011 to just 60,000 last year, questions will continue to be asked as to the viability of the race. 16 months will pass before India hosts the next Grand Prix, following this year’s race in October. Whether India can hold the attention of F1 fans over there remains to be seen. However, as I alluded to earlier, with no current Indian driver on the F1 grid, and Force India’s finances looking shaky at the best of time, it could be a tricky 18 months coming up for the organisers, Jaypee.
Previously only reported as a ‘multi-year deal’ McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh has been quoted by ESPN saying they can look forward to a decade of success with Honda.
“we can now look ahead to the next ten years knowing we have got a fantastic budget, resources and a partner to continue winning and being successful in Formula One. It’s a challenge, it always is, but I think it’s an exciting one.”
The question is, can McLaren bring back the glory years of McLaren-Honda?
Lotus F1 Team chairman Lopez said the team’s €120m debt has been misunderstood and denied suggestions that staff had not been paid.
“On the €120 million debt, anybody half-smart can find out that number by going to Companies House records and will see that out of that, over €90 million is not ‘real’ debt but shareholder loans made to the company,”
He carried on to say that development will carry on, “We are actually bringing a number of new developments throughout the season,” however, “just like everyone else, a lot of the big stuff like the double DRS has already been developed but is going to be put on the car for the upcoming races“.
Two things come to mind, James Allison is not there anymore (big stuff) and Alan Permane needs to speak to Lopez.