19 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 29 August 2013

  1. As to the too often invisible Mr Todt I find myself between a rock and a hard place, actually hoping he wins on this issue whilst hoping he doesn’t get a second term. If he could just ‘rattle his dags’ a little on this matter (and the tyres) thereby showing clear leadership I’d have to go for his re-election.

  2. Heikki is to be commended for recognizing his performance shortcomings during the two seasons at McLaren. Equally impressive is the Finn’s resolve to be a salaried F1 driver whose talent earns him a seat. With Pic under contract for 2014 and Alexander Rossi eager to make his F1 debut it will be interesting to see how things play out in Leafield.

  3. I know people have dismissed the idea of Massa to Torro Rosso, but I wonder if it might not be a sensible option in many ways. He can bring some money in and would help give the engineering side of the team some direction. That seems to be the one thing missing from TR, they have no reference as to how their cars compare with the competition and are dependent on feedback from drivers who usually have no experience of other F1 machinery. Personally, I think he’d be better served in Sauber, especially as they share the Ferrari power plant now and the lower pressure may well rejuvinate his career.

    • TR doesn’t need money and RBR technology can be transferred ‘under the table’. I agree that Massa would be more needed in a team like Sauber.
      The only way I can see Massa to TR would be as a 1-year gap if they believe Nassr or Da Costa are not ready yet. It may also serve as a bargaining chip before Vettel joins Ferrari. I’ve no idea. Trying to make sense of this alleged move and it just doesn’t make sense.

      • Don’t need money? Hasn’t there been talk on and off of DM selling up? Even Red Bull could use extra funding and with the higher cost of the 2014 powerplants I’m sure no-one would turn sponsorship down.

        Personally, I would think RB would be better having one young driver and one experienced driver in TR to help bring the car on and as a good yardstick, then pay another team to take a second young driver.

        • I thought the F1 operation ran itself now from the prize money of consecutive CWC wins. But there is also Toro Rosso. So $450 million per year is not an inconsequential sum of money, and neither is employing 905 people.

          I thought Nasr would slip in to somewhere like Marussia, who need pots of gold, would Marko really take someone from outside his program? And not only that, someone who hasn’t had affiliation with the program (like Coletti, Wickens, Frijns who said no, Dillmann, Hartley, Juncadella, Buemi, Alguersuari, Chandhok, the list goes on..), although maybe that’s more of a hindrance to be re-signed.

          Bernie does need a Brazilian driver, and now that Senna is out, Nasr is the best choice going forwards as well. He has that significant backing, and I’m not surprised to see Bernie trying to help him in. Would this fly with the Toro Rosso/RB Junior policy of “lose your sponsors”? Although if Frijns has no sponsors, why not go for it!

          I think Nasr, Evans and Marciello are the clearest 3 junior formulae drivers who have a ‘future F1 talent’ aura about them. Others who are now almost ready to jump in to F1 level are Magnussen, Felix da Costa, Vandoorne, Frijns, Rossi, Calado.. Sirotkin is more akin to the future 3, but is determined to jump the queue and save himself the time/money hassle 😀

  4. “Bernie does need a Brazilian driver,”

    Why? If you believe that F1 only survives in a country because a local driver is competing then Bernie should be spending his time getting a Chinese, American, Japanese and an Indian driver into F1 before a Brazilian.

    • Admittedly, if Bernie needed a Japanese driver in F1, he would have rallied harder to keep Kobayashi in a seat. Razia has also been overlooked as the Brazilian driver 😛

      But Nasr I think could do well and have more than a 5 year F1 career (more than average length), if he adapts well to the rigours of F1. I think he is quite similar to someone like Di Resta. Consistent, won’t make too many mistakes, medium time to adapt (not as quick as Bianchi, Bottas off the bat, little bit quicker than Gutierrez, Van der Garde, Chilton), won’t make too many wild overtaking moves but is starting to work on it to be more ruthless in traffic. So maybe a little bit of a mature Massa/Pic thrown in too? In time he could be another Alonso/Raikkonen. Not sure if Evans or Marciello is faster/more of a Vettel/Hamilton type.

        • Oh – well I guess because Brazil has a big F1 fanbase, so to keep the interest strong (Japan is similar.. the GP was under threat without Kobayashi, a Japanese driver, but that was solved by Honda coming back to F1, and Suzuka is Honda’s circuit). Brazilian sponsors will then continue to invest in F1. This cycle keeps the Brazilian race going and he will need to keep this strong to get his badly wanted upgrades done at Interlagos.

          It’s also been said that Santander has a strong interest in Brazil and Alonso/Massa is the perfect combination for them, hence Raikkonen got paid off with a full year’s drive to leave Ferrari to make this tie-up happen. This lends credence to Massa possibly staying for another year or more as well.

          • Guess we’d all better pray Max Chilton hangs on to his ride then; the British GP is starting to look like it needs all the help Bernie can give it.

          • That’s not what I was getting at… Most of the F1 teams are based here and hence all the employees. Along with a long motor racing culture going nigh on 100 years now.

            In Brazil, they have just the GP and the driver to cheer for. If they disappeared then there would be a lot less brazilians willing or able to fly around the world and spend money to watch F1. Maybe they would turn to watching their touring car series which Rubens drove in, or Indycar which visits once a year. Admittedly, there would still be a strong F1 interest, as there has been for over 40 years now. Japan, without any manufacturer participation or a GP would be similarly hit, although I’m guessing more Japanese could afford to visit races. But Honda investing in the sport can only be good for it.

            Remember, the tracks can only afford to pay Bernie’s high race fees if interest is sufficient to pay a huge ticket price. This can be dependent on how well a driver is doing or if there is one – British GP numbers go down when McLaren/Hamilton are doing badly (could also be the mudlock, but there you go).

  5. Thank you TJ for your update on the behind the scenes activities of Alex Wurz. He has long been mentioned by insiders as someone possessing the right qualities for an F1 Team boss, and I am intrigued by the idea that Williams, certainly in need of new direction, might consider exploiting his multifaceted talents. Wurz has always sidestepped discussion that he might be a team manager one day, and as pleased as I am to see Williams making use of Pat Symonds, a management role at Williams might just be a fine opportunity for everyone. The fate of one of F1’s storied teams is in doubt these days, and a re-energized and re-directed Williams can only be good for the sport.

  6. Michelin out in the cold:
    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”.

    – just who is in charge?

    FIA FI Sporting regs quote:
    25.1 Supply of tyres:
    A single tyre manufacturer has been chosen by the FIA for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons following an invitation for tenders to supply tyres to all the cars entered in Championship Events for the duration of these seasons. A single tyre manufacturer will be chosen by the FIA for subsequent seasons following an invitation for tenders to supply tyres to all the cars entered in Championship Events for the duration of such subsequent seasons.
    The appointed tyre supplier must undertake to provide : ………..

    It would appear that until the FIA hold a tendering operation, no company is yet appointed for 2014? – maybe they contract out the tender and subsequent contract to Bernie’s commercial side?

    • The FIA are the only ones that issue the tyre supply tender and award the supply contract. FOM handles the commercial side of the deal such as track advertising and dispersal of team money. It’s not a chicken or egg situation. Only the FIA can issue the supply contract. Ecclestone is know to have a contract with Pirelli that extends beyond this year so if Michelin were to get the contract he would have to cancel the Pirelli deal. My opinion is Todt hasn’t issued the new contract so he can let Ecclestone twist in the wind and let CVC know he runs F1 and not Ecclestone.

  7. Can someone please provide a translation into English of that Twitter row?! Ive traced it back to the original stories and it still doesnt make any sense. Mark Kleinman accuses Caroline Reid of robbing news from him about Loyds buying Silverstone but I couldnt find it in her article in the Independent. She did say that Silverstone has been sold but Kleimman disputes that even tho he says Loyds is the buyer. If anyone can make heads or tails of that they are a better man than me!

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