Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 16th August 2013

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Silverstone sold 21:00

Sirotkin to start 2014 preparation 12:00

Williams has great expectations of Symonds 12:00

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Silverstone sold (Independent)

A senior motorsport personality, who is a BRDC member, told The Independent: “A deal has been done on Silverstone. I don’t know who bought it and I don’t know what the terms are, but it is absolutely categoric that a deal has been done and not due to be announced until next month probably.

It is rumoured that the potential buyer is a real estate firm with the most recent company linked to a takeover being MEPC, a property group owned by the BT pension fund, with an offer of £40m.

With Silverstone already being one of the most expensive races to attend one can only hope that the new investors can find a way to boost their income from developing a business park to subsidise ticket prices.

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Sirotkin to start 2014 preparation

After a week of turmoil it appears Sirotkin is on track to start his induction and familiarisation with Sauber next week. Earlier this week TJ13 reported some troubles with the Sauber/Russian deal as it was rumoured that the board of NIAT (National Institute of Aviation Technologies) are refusing to sign off the investment.

It is well known that Mr Putin is the ultimate sign-off and perhaps he had a word with his subordinates as Sauber now says “The contract with Sergey Sirotkin is in place“. Russian media supports this quoting Sirotkin’s management saying he will visit the team and it is, “scheduled for 20-22 August,” and, “Sergey will become acquainted with team staff, technical equipment and the Sauber Formula One car“.

With Spa next weekend let us hope we see Kaltenborn in the team principal’s press conference. It should be interesting…

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Williams has great expectations of Symonds

With Pat Symonds leaving Marussia for Williams expectations are that the Grove based team will see an improvement in their performance. How soon though remains to be seen however in an interview with Brazil’s TotalRace deputy team principal Claire Williams said although they are not where they want to be she thinks Symonds will have an immediate impact.

Pat Symonds is coming after the August break and I think he will have an immediate impact and get us where we need to be.

It appears Symonds will be working to revive the 2013 challenge rather than focusing on the 2014 car with Williams saying, “We cannot do that. Williams always goes to every race trying to score points, wanting to win. As in any year, let’s make sure that we continue to develop this car, while thinking about the car for 2014.

Is that the right strategy, to focus on the 2013 car which is rather off the pace? Would it not be better for resources to focus on 2014 to ensure they have a decent chance in the new season or is this being done in the hope of securing better results to impress sponsors?

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24 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 16th August 2013

  1. I don’t find it surprising symonds would be “working” on the 13 car rather than the 14, as he always seemed more like a strategist/pit wall kind of a guy than an out and out boffin.

  2. With Sauber struggling and the Williams seemingly liking the new tyres it could well be that concentrating on the 2013 car could push them up the table and bring in more funding as well as looking good for sponsors.

    With the change in engine for next season I wonder how much they could achieve anyway. Indeed, I can see all teams having a really busy autumn and winter as they haven’t even seen the new engines yet so it is hard for them to do any meaningful testing.

    • What testing are they allowed with the new engines? On a racetrack I mean, not just firing it up on a bench.

    • Other than points=funding, the other thing working on the 2013 car gets them is learning more about correlating wind tunnel results (on upgrades etc) with real world performance – which knowledge is going to be of use next year too.

      Do we know which parts (if any) of the 2014 powertrain Williams is going to be building for themselves ?

  3. Of bigger concern to Williams is finding the $45M – $50M that they are currently getting from PDVSA which will either be significantly reduced or ended for 2014.

    • Do we know for how many years was the initial deal for? Because this is no different than the whole Ferrari-Santander deal until 2018 despite Santander’s problems. The bankrupt RBS sponsored Williams so I can’t see why Santander or PDVSA would walk out if there is an existing deal in place.

      • The PDVSA contract apparently runs to 2015. The value is apparently $50M for 2014 and $60M for 2015. The Venezuelans are trying to get out of the contract claiming that since it was personally authorized by Chavez the contract died when he did. Are the Venezuelans going to hand over $110M over the next two years? I rather doubt they will. Is Williams going to sue a government? If they do it could take years to resolve. Unless Williams get a significant portion of that money they are in deep, deep trouble.

        • Yep. The contract is available online, you just have to search for it. I always thought it was unenforceable and some of the Venezuelan senators (IIRC) thought it was illegal and made an attempt to have if nullified. There’s an interesting article on the Formula One Rejects website (a very amusing site, by the way) about the decline of Williams, written in the mid 2000’s but still applicable. Williams certainly seem to be flailing about. Too bad.

  4. I recall Adam Parr stating that the PDVSA contract with Williams is airtight. Maldonado’s options for a drive with a team further up the grid are limited. Pastor will remain at Grove with his PDVSA dosh until contract reaches the agreed upon term or is bought out. With chatter about Juncadella, where will the quick and humble Bottas find himself in 2014? Pat Symonds has decades of knowledge to share with Williams. Bringing him on board and parting ways with Coughlin was an inspired decision.

      • Even an airtight contract can be terminated, if all involved parties wish it. Both Williams and Parr were blackmailed into agreeing to a termination by the ungly dwarf.

    • I saw Williams heap praise on Bottas and he’s out qualified Maldonado 6 out of 10 times. It be sad to see him go but money talks…

      • They booted out hulk, which was also a mistake.

        However, i do feel that they have the resources, and potential, to get back up the grid pretty quickly. A few good results, and due to goodwill inherent in the Williams name, and sponsor money will come back to the team.

        Personally, i like Claire Williams. I like her grit, style and attitude. She really seems to be a chip off both sir frank and ginny – her pedigree is excellent.

        I admit to being biased – Williams are my favorite team. They are real racers. I love franks way, such an inspirational man who abhorres sympathy and special treatment. I also loved Patrick, a lion of a man.

        Bringing in pat s is inspired. I can’t understand why more teams didn’t consider doing so. Like frank, and Patrick, he is a winner. I rate him as highly as Ross.

        The next few years will be very interesting!

      • I read Williams comments on Bottas and took that for the kiss of death. Shame really if it transpires. As to airtight contracts and dictatorships? I certainly wouldn’t hold too much faith in that scenario.

        • I agree Danilo, F1 contracts seem to have an escape clause if agreement can be reached and money change hands. Button’s Byfield negotiated contract with Wiliams comes to mind, more recently Trulli and Caterham, Glock and Marussia.

        • Bottas has double world champion Mika in his corner which will be an advantage for him on the driver market.

        • While it has authoritarian features, Venezuela is not a dictatorship. If that makes the contract airtight or not is another discussion, but there are a large numer of Latin American governments I wouldn’t want to have to rely on when it comes to fulfilling their contractual obligations.

  5. Very interesting on the Silverstone sale.

    Personally, i think there could be some difficulties for the race in the future. The track is universally liked by drivers, and is one me the most highly supported weekends on the calendar.

    But it is too expensive, and potentially will only get more expensive with Bernards escalator.

    I really feel that the BRDC blinked too early in their negotiations with Bernard. He put the boot in for years before hand, moved the race away from Silverstone (which didn’t work out for him) prior to agreeing to allow the race to go ahead.

    I think Damon and the guys could have, and should have, done better.

    No British gp would have been the way forward. Bernard wouldn’t have cared too much, but the wallas in the upper and lower houses in London would have been doing cartwheels. Especially if the contractors said they were doing a Toyota and were off to Germany.

    The amount of money that F1 directly, and indirectly, generates in taxes is immense. There is a direct link between F1 and lower formula regarding suppliers. All of these stakeholders are ultra high end technology based companies which give the UK a significant edge over other countries in their related industries. They also provide significant export revenues and taxes.

    I genuinely was amazed that Damon and the rest of the driving wallas were singing the whole we’ve saved the race and have a new deal for 7 years (with less emphasis on the escalator!) when the actual target should have been to get some government moola into the equation.

    Sometimes you need the balls for high state brinkmanship, and be prepared ve walk away short term to get what you want.

    To me, it showed three things:
    a. Part time negotiators will always be bested by professional full time negotiators
    b. Gaining consensus weakens you when dealing with one person who has autonomy to make decisions – politics of group think ensures this
    c. The drivers

    • Apologies, premature posting syndrome!

      C. The drivers seem to have less fortitude in the trouser department compared to their hayday at the track

      This Bernard is a genius nonsense is just that, nonsense. I agree he built the sport into what it is today, but lets be clear:
      a. Negotiations with tracks is not exactly rocket science due to supply and demand, and more so, the ego of those he talks with
      b. Dealing with the teams isn’t too hard either. The hard part was getting the teams to allow him to negotiate on their behalf, get rid of the gobsheen that was Ballastra and get Max into the FIA. The teams greed and self interest takes care of the rest.

    • Second apology.

      In the original post i meant to say constructors, not contractors, doing a Toyota.

      I believe his lordship commented recently on the perils of posting from a smartphone.

      The phone is smart; the operator leaves a bit to be desired in the smartness stakes….

      • Good post, if a little disjointed. The 10%/year fee increase Silverstone agreed to is, in my opinion, insane. This is a compounded increase and is driving ticket prices out of reach. With the demand for races obviously falling, maybe Bernie will be willing to do a little negotiation.

        • Apologies Steve, et all.

          For some reason my phone will not allow scrolling if the post is over a certain length, so any errors cannot be fixed.

          A little frustrating for a perfectionist!

  6. Sport Bild online announced Daniel Ricciardo to replace Mark Webber…
    they claim that the Red Bull announcement will be made in Spa.
    There has been no confirmation from Red Bull, with motorsport chief Helmut Marko saying: “We will make no announcement until Spa. I cannot say any more on this.”

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