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Michelin out in the cold 00:52
Heikki calling the shots 01:09
Stefano flannels to FOM (link) 01:15
Torro Rosso 2014 drivers 10:25
Michelin out in the cold
Bernie must be feeling rather like a fish out of water. The world he has controlled for so long is changing and as suggested in my Aesop’s fables piece clearly the oxygen in Ecclestone’s world tastes rather different at present.
Successive Concorde agreements have been rammed through by the F1 supremo who has used a combination of divide and conquer tactics together with an “Emperor’s new clothes” philosophy – where everyone is persuaded to believe it is only they who are out of step with the common consensus.
Of course the court in Munich is looming large, and there is a genuine possibility that Bernard will do some porridge. Yet we are nearly one year beyond the deadline for the new Concorde agreement and a number of parties are consistently challenging the previously indomitable authority of F1’s previously undisputed ultimate authority.
Jean Todt is refusing to sign the new deal which would see F1 neatly packaged up until 2020 and is clearly irksome to CVC and Bernie’s aspirations. Pirelli are still not confirmed as the tyre supplier for 2014 and Michelin have gone public saying they have the backing of the FIA.
Yet according to Speed.com Bernie claims, “FOM and Pirelli have a contract” and when asked why the FIA have not ratified this deal he adds, “We don’t need one, I don’t think. They are nothing to do with commercial. The FIA’s position is that they are regulators. They regulate all the regulations that have been agreed”.
Ecclestone dismisses Todt’s relevance to the matter saying, “Jean is the president of the FIA. If it’s a matter of a vote in the World Council, he has one vote. As it’s not a matter for the World Council, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.”
Bernie states that, “All the teams who have spoken to me say they are very happy with Pirelli, and the problems they’ve had, they’re happy that they’ve dealt with them.” He further dismisses the idea of Michelin joining the sport explaining he believes tyre wars are a thing of the past. “They [Michelin] will want to pick the teams that they think will win, and they’ll pay them a lot more money to take them as opposed to somebody else. We have a deal with Pirelli, anyway.”
All this aside, Todt is growing in belief that the FIA are able to no longer play second fiddle to Ecclestone having made a unilateral decision on the Pirelli change in 2013 tyre compound which has gone unchallenged.
After all this time are we really coming to believe F1 can operate without a Concorde agreement despite all the threats of the past? Further, is it the case F1 can actually run its affairs quite reasonably without the need for an F1 ‘God’ to lay down ‘the way it must be’?
Heikki calling the shots
Heikki Kovalainen is in defiant mood for an unemployed F1 driver. He tells Autosport, “I think it’s important to get back racing, that’s clearly my goal, but I really don’t know whether the chances are good or not.”
The team have clearly missed the input from an experienced driver in terms of both car development and setup at race weekends. They have turned to the Finn and requested he contribute in a way neither Pic or Van de arde can, offering him Friday FP1 sessions for the rest of the season.
Yet Heikki is obstinate over the terms and conditions for any return to F1 full time. “The fact is that I will not bring money, everyone knows that, and if that’s going to be an obstacle again then it’s out of my hands.
“I had a good opportunity with McLaren, I didn’t make the most of it, but I’m not willing to give up quite yet. I’m working on turning that round, to prove myself again here to everyone.
I haven’t worried about other drivers bringing in money and taking the places. I’ll try to find other ways, and I’ll try to convince people based on another way, purely on performance and the things that I do and how I do things. Whether that will work or not I don’t know”.
In a coded comment, Heikki states, “We know the reasons I was forced out of Formula 1, and I still don’t want to go down that route – I don’t want to look for money and bring money to the teams – but anyway I’ve managed to keep myself here in the paddock and I think I’ve managed to contribute some stuff to this team.
Perhaps it was degrading a little bit towards the end of last season, for various reasons, but I think I’ve managed to get that relationship back with the team and that’s only going to be a positive thing for the future.”
Mmm. Someone in F1 who stands by his principles huh?
Wurz’s expanding role at Williams
Alex Wurz have been working with Williams F1 as a driver coach since February 2012. The move originally came as Williams had two relatively inexperienced drivers in Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna. (If you look on his website he mentions two major training philosophies; High-performance skill driver training and behaviour improvement training – The latter seems to be failing with Maldonado Mr Wurz…)
Not much have been heard of Wurz, however it appears he is still working with the team although in a completely different role. Speaking to Austrian magazine Sportwoche Wurz said he is now working to help Williams by looking at restructuring and recruiting staff. Symonds was just the first of many apparently…
“My task at Williams is to analyse the structure of the team and offer ideas that will help us to make progress. Pat Symonds has come to us, but he is just one of several new people that Williams plans to hire.”
Could he be lining up to take over from Frank Williams as team boss of Williams F1? Look behind you Claire…
Mark Kleinman and Caroline Reid Twitter Spat
Twitter can be used for sharing breaking news with the masses and then… it can also be used for a good old spat. Below is an argument between Kleinman, City editor of Sky News, and Reid, from Formula Money, over a piece on the LDC investment into Silverstone. And the argument is about…
Who knew retweeting someone could get you into such a mess…
Torro Rosso 2014 drivers
With Ricciardo moving to Red Bull next year António Félix da Costa was tipped to replace the Australian in the Torro Rosso. However, Da Costa has experienced a dip in form and according to AMuS rumours in the paddock suggests Felipe Nasr could now be in line for the seat.
Should Massa lose his seat at Ferrari and not get another competitive drive he will be out of the sport in 2014 and that would leave us with no Brazilian driver on the grid. In steps Nasr who has strong backing from Banco do Brasil and Sky Brazil.
Nasr, currently lying second in the GP2 championship, has the backing of Mr E who has offered him advice and support as he needs a Brazilian. “I’m here. Anytime you [Nasr] need advice, you can shout. I need a Brazilian driver”
But will Torro Rosso sign a driver that is not from the Red Bull Young Driver Programme? If not, where else could he go, too many drivers and to few seats available…