Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 5th September 2013

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Frijns binned by Sauber (00:56)

To pay or not to pay… that is the question (11:39)

Mercedes low downforce package for Monza (11:52)

F1 Provisional calendar 2014 (11:56)

Lotus land a “mega-investor” (12:19)

2014 driver lineups (13:33)

Who earns what? (13:53)

BMW: No way to F1 (14:38)

Monza marshals to strike (16:51)

Lewis without dog nanny or ‘pooper scooper’ (17:00)

Where is the Russian moula? (17:17)

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Frijns binned by Sauber

The reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion was signed up as the Sauber team’s third driver last winter, but with their option on his contract expiring this month the Swiss outfit has decided not to keep him as part of their setup.

Frijns, has scored just one win in what has been a stop/strt GP2 campaign this year, is not racing at Monza this weekend and will not attend the race with Sauber.

“I don’t know what happens now,” the 22-year-old told AutoSport. “All I know is I’m sitting at home and everybody is in Monza.

I’m a free agent. I don’t blame Sauber, they have to keep themselves alive as a team and I understand that. Of course they have a great history with young drivers and giving them a chance in Formula 1.

“But they also have a financial situation that everyone knows about, and that is something that is out of my hands.”

Frijns, who won three junior single seater championships in succession (Formula BMW, Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula Renault 3.5) prior to this season, said his 2013 has been very hard to deal with.

“I’ve had a lot of downs this year,” he added. “It’s annoying but there is nothing I can do about it. I helped Hilmer Motorsport get their first GP2 win which is a big achievement that I’m proud of.

But other than that it has been a terrible year.

Right now, we don’t have a plan. The most important thing now is I’m free and I can do what I want. Hopefully someone gives me a chance to show what I can do.”

This is a travesty and an indictment on the way F1 is heading. How on earth can a eenage no-body get to drive in F1 because daddy has piles of cash; and this results in the discarding of a proven young gun who so many people are excited to see behind the wheel of an F1 car.

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To pay or not to pay… that is the question

Every now and then I see or hear something and have to mutilate myself with a sharp tool to ensure I have not been transported to a parallel universe. Of course the plight of young Frijns is capturing our attention at present and the debate over pay to drive F1 pilots verses drivers who are paid hits the debating forums once again.

The irony we are faced with today is twofold; and this irony has a double edged blade (to continue with the mutilation metaphor). Firstly the topic and secondly the individual who has spoken out on the matter.

Vijay Mallya on the face of it may appear to have had a damascus road experience and ‘seen the light’. Vijay now believes that paying employees is better than not doing so.

“It sends a very wrong signal to the team to take pay drivers. I consult my engineers and the technical director on the selection of drivers, particularly for 2013 when we had a choice of two and finally we went with Adrian Sutil. That was largely because the key technical people in the team said ‘let’s go with him.

I did not want them to feel that all the efforts in producing a competitive car were going to be compromised on track because I had chosen a driver who wasn’t the best available drivers. I’ve not gone with pay drivers, I’ve gone with drivers of talent and that policy will stay”.

Force India has previously recruited Paul di Resta and Bianchi as third drivers, giving both Friday practice runs to aid their development. The team announced earlier this week that GP2 title contender James Calado will now move into that role after a strong performance in July’s young driver test.

“We were very impressed with James Calado,” said Mallya. “In his first time in an F1 car, apart from straightline testing, he did a great job. He was number one on my list [for a number three role].”

Before we ask the TJ13 concert orchestra to perform a rendition of the Halelujah chorus, Vijay’s view makes perfect business sense for a team like Force India. The team receive no funding from Vijay or his sidekick Rob Roy of Sahara, and are funded through prize money and a certain amount of sponsorship.

Had Force India recruited a rookie like Bianchi, he may have cost them a place in the constructors’ championship table, and that alone would negate the benefit of having a driver who brings funds in return for an F1 drive.

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Mercedes low downforce package for Monza

There’s a buzz in the Brackley factory ahead of this weekend. Whilst the Mercedes underperformed in SPA, this was due to set up mistakes rather than a reflection on the cars development over the summer break. Yet the team believe they have the best car for the demands of Monza and are quietly hoping for a double podium finish on Sunday.

Ross Brawn explains, “From an engineering perspective, Monza is unique and requires a special low-downforce aerodynamic package to make the most of the high-speed layout which also places great importance on the strength of the engine on the long straights. I was very pleased with the team’s performance in Belgium and the consolidation of our current position of second place in the Constructors’ Championship. We weren’t quite in the position to fight for the win but we will keep pushing hard to close that gap and keep fighting.”

The set up required for Monza is quite different from Spa. Vettel’s stunning move on Hamilton at the top of Eau Rouge was delivered because of the downforce set up Red Bull opted to run. Higher downforce than the Mercedes through Eau Rouge delivered a 10kph higher speed as Vettel passed Hamiton, yet through the speed gun towards the end of the Kemmel straight, the RB9 was 10kph slower than the quickest car.

“In Monza, we will use a refined version of the low-drag package introduced at Spa. We hope to see an improvement in race pace after the lessons we learned over the race weekend in Belgium,” says Toto Wolff. And you can see in this picture what Toto is talking about.

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Barring any silly mistakes or external troubles, Mercedes are looking very strong for the race weekend ahead.

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F1 2014 provisional calendar

Here is a draft of the calendar to be submitted to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council which next meets in Croatia on September 26-28. Before Alonso et al begin moaning about the longest ever season, Korea and Mexico are marked as provisional.

March 16 - Australia (Melbourne)
March 23 - Malaysia (Sepang)
April 6 - China (Shanghai)
April 13 – Korea* (Korea International Circuit)
April 27 – Bahrain (Sakhir)
May 11 – Spain (Barcelona)
May 25 – Monaco (Monaco)
June 8 – Canada (Montreal)
June 22 – Austria (Red Bull Ring)
July 6 – Britain (Silverstone)
July 20 – Germany (Hockenheim)
July 27 – Hungary (Budapest)
August 24 – Belgium (Spa)
September 7 – Italy (Monza)
September 21 – Singapore (Marina Bay)
October 5 - Japan (Suzuka)
October 19 – Russia* (Sochi)
October 26 – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
November 9 – Mexico* (Mexico City)
November 16 – USA (Circuit of the Americas)
November 30 – Brazil (Interlagos)

As TJ13 has been saying for months, there is no New Jersey, and there won’t be until someone comes up with around $100m in cold hard cash. Hot dogs alone will not finance the race.

Despite all the lobbying and offers of truck loads of used caash, the Bahraini’s appear to have failed to procure the prestigious opener to the 2014 season. Australia retain this privilege and Daniel Ricciardo will compete in an RB10 in his home race on March 16th.

Valencia’s hopes of a return appear to be dashed and the Mexico project (provisional) TJ13 touted during the GP weekend in Austin 2012 is on the calendar. It was fairly obvious back then when Carlos Slim Jnr, Tlke and Tavo Helmund were seen closeted in the back of a hospitality building holding a deep discussions that matters were afoot.

Clearly if Mexico does go ahead – and it is marked provisional – it will not be at a brand new venue, but held at the historic Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City. There is a lot of work to be done to upgrade the dilapidated facilities to gain the FIA class 1 certificate it will require to host such an event.

Korea is provisional and apparently there is a strong possibility that they will drop out following this years GP. Nobody wants to go there and they want to stop paying $50m a year to host an event that has become F1’s white elephant.

Having a 2 week gap between Singapore and Japan appears to make little sense, but at least we don’t have the interminable 3 week gaps between races F1 fans have endured during the 2013 season. Of course this may yet happen as races listed above fail to materialise.

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Lotus land a “mega-investor”

Lotus F1 Team welcomes Dubai-based residential and commercial property investment company Emaar Properties to its portfolio of partners, in a new two-year deal commencing from this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix

Emaar’sportfolio includes properties such as The Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa; the world’s tallest building. As Official Partner to Lotus F1 Team, Emaar will enjoy a presence on the team’s E21 car in addition to a range of other Lotus F1 Team marketing collateral. This new relationship builds on the team’s recent partnerships with brands such as Microsoft, Unilever [Clear and Rexona] and The Coca-Cola Company [burn].

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Eric Boullier today remarked,

“We are delighted to begin this new relationship with Emaar Properties; particularly as the UAE has been a fruitful location for us on track with Kimi Räikkönen winning the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. That victory truly confirmed that Lotus F1 Team as one of the foremost outfits in Formula 1 and we have continued our strong performances this season. With this new partnership with the developer of such iconic projects as Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, we are looking forward to some home support as we race in the UAE once again this year. We are also very excited to see how this partnership will further enhance Lotus F1 Team’s brand value.”

The Chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar, also commented, “Formula 1 brings man, mind and machine together in one exciting journey to perfection. The minute attention to details, the passion and commitment, and the determination of every participant to push the boundaries are values that have also set Emaar apart, as we challenged accepted norms to develop world-class projects such as Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.

Our partnership with Lotus F1 Team, a remarkable team with impeccable credentials in the racing circuit, is therefore a perfect fit to our own values. As they race at the Formula 1 Championship circuits across the world, we are truly honoured to extend our support to the Lotus F1 Team, while also engaging with our international clientele and further defining the global identity of our brand.”

Emaar Properties PJSC, listed on the Dubai Financial Market, is a global property developer with a significant presence in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. A provider of premium lifestyles through its world-class portfolio of integrated communities, the company also has proven competencies in shopping malls & retail, and hospitality & leisure. Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, are among Emaar’s trophy developments.

Emaar is currently expanding The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue by 1 million sq ft expansion and also redefining the cultural scene of the city with The Opera District in Downtown Dubai, to feature the city’s first opera house and several design galleries. The company is also partnering in implementing Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR City), with Dubai Hills Estate, the first phase of MBR City, developed as a joint venture with Meraas Holding.

Among other mega-projects of Emaar is the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia the region’s largest private sector-led project. Emaar is also the largest foreign direct investor in India’s real estate sector and its joint venture has a country-wide presence covering the residential, commercial, retail and hospitality sectors.

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2014 driver lineups

When we look at the list below the is a fairly high degree of uncertainty over who will be with which team in 2014

Red Bull

Engine: Renault

1. Sebastian Vettel (contract)
2. Daniel Ricciardo (contract)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Ferrari

Engine: Ferrari

3. Fernando Alonso (contract)
4. Felipe Masa (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

McLaren

Engine: Mercedes

5. Jenson Button (TBC)
6. Sergio Perez (contract)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Lotus

Engine: Renault

7. Kimi Raikkonen (TBC)
8. Romain Grosjean (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Mercedes

Engine: Mercedes

9. Nico Rosberg (contract)
10. Lewis Hamitlon (contract)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Sauber

Engine: Ferrari

11. Nico Hulkenberg(TBC)
12. Esteban Gutierrez (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Force India

Engine: Mercedes

14. Paul di Resta (TBC)
15. Adrian Sutil (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Williams

Engine: Mercedes

16. Pastor Maldonado (TBC)
17. Valtteri Bottas (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Toro Rosso

Engine: Renault

18. Jean-Eric Vergne (TBC)
19. TBC (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Caterham

Engine: Renault

20. Charles Pic (TBC)
21. Giedo van der Garde (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

Marussia

Engine: Ferrari

22. Jules Bianchi (TBC)
23. Max Chilton (TBC)

Test and reserve drivers TBC

When questioned over his future with McLaren back in May, Jenson Button was non-committal saying, “You’ve got to live in the moment and I don’t think trying to agree a lengthy deal for the future is something that is interesting at the moment for me.” Of course the car was poor and Jenson was upset.

We now know that in fact Jenson is not in control of his destiny when he revealed recently that Martin Whitmarsh is actually yet to take up the option on his current deal, but played down rumours he was negotiating for a Ferrari drive. “Ferrari is legendary, but so too is McLaren. Why should I change?”

Ron Dennis is not one to be messed with and although the car has been poor this year, at times Button has not played the expected corporate line – quite possibly the reason Jenson at the moment finds himself in limbo.

Today Reuters quote Jenson saying, “I want to be here [at McLaren] in 2015. I’ve worked for many years with that Japanese engine manufacturer, it will be exciting to work with them again in the future”. When asked had he signed a contract yet, Button responded “Not yet. But it’s all good. It takes a bit of time.”

Asked if the 2015 talks are holding up a deal for next season, Button answered: “I can’t say right now. In a few weeks I can.”

On the matter of Raikkonene Jenson had this to say, “There’s so much change in the sport next season, in terms of the engines and the cars, it’s better for the top three or four teams to stay put for the near future. From what Martin Whitmarsh has said, Kimi is not here next year”.

Of course TJ13 believes Kimi has done a deal with Ferrari, but there is still some chaos going on behind the scenes and as soon as we know more we’ll let you know.

Ferrari are quoted on the matter of 2014 drivers today in Spanish publication AS stating via ‘a source’, “The final decision will be the team’s, but Fernando will be consulted, as is normal.”

Alonso again has been banging the drum that the team retain Massa – as he did so vocally last year before being put in his place by Il Padrino (LdM).

PhoneCallPart1

Created by TJ13 Courtroom Drama and Gossip columnist: Mattpt55

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Who earns what?

Fernando Alonso is the best paid driver in the world. Forbes magazine reports his earnings are $30 million per year, $2 million of which is via personal endorsements.

The second best paid driver is our Lewis – I keep telling you why Shirtlifter wants his babies – who reportedly makes $27.5 million per year, followed then in third place we have Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Junior with $26m.

American Jimmie Johnson is next, earning $24 million and he is closely followed by the inimitable MotoGP veteran Valentino Rossi on $22m.

Surprisingly F1’s triple world champion Sebastian Vettel earns a relatively paltry $18 million per year, slightly less than Nascar’s Jeff Gordon.

While the highest paid female driver, Danica Patrick, is hard on Vettel’s heels earning a cool $15 million – more than the $14m reportedly earned by McLaren’s Jenson Button. No wonder Jenson is playing hardball over his contract – he’s earning less than a girl!!!

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BMW No way to F1

For those of you who have never been inside the F1 paddock on a race weekend, it’s a strange place to be. Of course the first time is intoxicating but with the passing of time, the glitz and glamour fades and the reality of what is going on becomes quite stark.

The mainstream TV media strut their stuff and mingle when they can with the team bosses, drivers and senior team personnel.

The lowly team personnel are permanently rushed of their feet trying to make sure the car and it’s driver is good to go.

Then there are the myriad of the pretty PR girls who whirl around delivering never ending guided tours to star struck guests and sponsor representatives.

The other main group of individuals are the written press. They hang out in the media centre and are shuffled around in groups for organised interviews with the ‘big names’.

Exclusives are hard to come by unless you want to write a piece on a Caterham driver or a rookie who is eager to please. Even if you get 10 minutes with Jenson or anyone else, he merely spouts the PR brief he’s had drilled into his head. So the life in the media centre can often be a fairly dull affair.

So the journo’s spend much of their time catching up on what they each ‘know’ from their ‘sources’. The gossip that then ensues at times is hilarious and sensational, and stories are created from the most minute of speculative deductions.

These stories at times catch like wildfire – and like a herd of sheep the F1 writers then dash around the paddock looking for someone… anyone who will comment or may know something.

On occasions ‘red herrings’ are deliberately thrown to the pack, like a zoo time feeding of the penguins and then the mischievous individual sits back to watches the frenzied fun.

2 weeks ago in Spa, all the talk of the media centre was about an imminent return to F1 by BMW. This has led to a number of speculative pieces being written and copied over the past 12 days – some by people who should really know better.

Anyway, the rumour was that having pulled out of F1 in 2009 and sold the team back to Peter Sauber, the German car manufacturer had realised the error of it’s ways and was hungry for F1 exposure.

The fact that Honda are returning in 2015 has been cited as the ‘kick up the backside’ BMW required. Yet BMW motor sport director Jens Marquardt tells  Germany’s Red Top publication Bild Sport, “The exit from Formula One was a strategic business decision. There are currently no considerations about coming back. We feel very comfortable in the (German touring car series) DTM.”

Let’s try and guess what this weekend’s pork pie fest will be about…. I hear today they are moaning about no more free WIFI in the rather pungent smelling sweat box they call home for the weekend.

Monza marshals to strike

The marshals of Monza are upset: many of them are waiting for expenses from last year. The headline of the Milan newspaper Il Giorno reads, “Shadow of a strike”.

It is possible that tomorrow morning when the F1 engines fire up for the first time, the drivers will be left sat in their garages due to insufficient marshals being in attendance.

The marshals at a race weekends are volunteers and receive only reimbursement of expenses they incur, such as for the cost of travelling to the circuit. The amount we are talking about is some 50 euros per day. 

They are paid by the Automobile Club of Milan (ACI), who in 1922 built the Monza track. The ACI has recently communicated to the 250 marshals, that the payments would again be late and one insider at the circuit says, “The marshals are fed up. They are now threatening to strike and put a gun to the ACI’s head”.

An ACI A spokesman says: “We have recognized the problem and are working on a solution.”

It’s all rather pathetic and incompetent and over what? 12,000 euros? This is just the latest in a series of scandals surrounding the management on the Monza circuit. The former Autodromo director Enrico Ferrari is accused of corruption and is currently under investigation.

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Lewis without dog nanny or ‘pooper scooper’

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Where is the Russian moula?

New allegations in Swiss media are being reported that the financial crisis at Sauber is far from over. Apparently only four creditors who were suing the company have been paid but 19 more are still pursuing the company for a total of 250,000 Swiss francs via the courts. An extract from the public record lists 43 separate prosecutions listed against the Hinwil based team.

Today in Monza, Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn issued the following statement. “The newspaper reports are not true. We have said that we are in a challenging situation. Through this partnership, we have begun to move forward, but this takes time. The improvements are noticeable step by step for us and our suppliers. We are in close contact with them and are working to be sustainable. But this is an internal matter. It is obvious that we will meet all our liabilities. We thank our suppliers for their patience.”

Maybe the Russians are only paying on a step by step basis. Sirotkin in Monza will see another cheque in the post – maybe?

38 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 5th September 2013

  1. Hate to sound cynical, but that’s the way things are. Money rules the world. I’ve lost contracts with EADS and BMW because other people demanded 10 Euros less per hour, regardless of the fact that they are so green behind the ears they need mowing. Same thing happening in F1, just the other way round. You may have won everything you ever tried, if you don’t have the moulah to buy your way in, you’re nothing. Welcome to today’s society.

    • Yeah, you sound a bit bitter Danilo, but this is not new … (pause for brain function)…..I started to say something about how this is how it has always been but, really, on second thought,…. you’re right. It’s wrong. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to change it.

      • An indictment of the extractive philosophy so prevalent amongst the banksters (to which class Bernie and CVC belong). Despite his building of the brand to unheard of proportions, CVC has refinanced the debt and now owes more than they borrowed when they first bought the rights to F1. In the meantime, no small team can afford to hire drivers, they can only rent the seats out and hope that somebody good shows up. How could we possibly solve this problem/sarcasm.

        And it’s not just F1, it’s our society at large. Call me grumpy old man if you like, but I’ve watched so much of what was good in our world being ground into dust for the benefit of an ever shrinking pool of oligarchs that occasionally, late at night, I feel the need to rant about it.

    • “I believe I can fly……”

      “ALL Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
      The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
      And Winter, slumbering in the open air,
      Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
      And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing, 5
      Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

      Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
      Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
      Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
      For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away! 10
      With lips unbrighten’d, wreathless brow, I stroll:
      And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
      Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
      And Hope without an object cannot live.”

      Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 1772–1834

    • There is excellent way to get rid of paydrivers (ok – not all of them – paydrivers like Alonso are still buying places if they will…)
      The way to get rid of paydrivers is exact requirements list which drivers must fulfill before gettign superlicence.
      For example – 1’st or 2’nd or 3’rd place at GP2. OR 1’st place at GP3. or 1’st or 2’nd palce at WR3.5. And so one. FIA should nominate number of championships/leagues which winners are entiteled to apply.
      Issuing superliceng to applicant should not be automatiuc even if win GP2. still should be scrutinized.

      But you get my point – clear way and clear pre-requisites – you can say career path…

      • A points system for a superlicence based on this. You only earn points for 1-2-3 places in the mentioned championships, and most for 1st in gp2 least for 3rd in r3.5…. So you could get enough points for a superlicence with say a gp2 championship win and a r3.5 championship third, maybe a little more, or alternatively 3x 3rd place in gp3, sometimes the team or circumstances mean the best guy might not always win, but at least this way there would be clear and attainable goals, and if not an outright win, rewards for consistent high attainment.

        • I’d add a time limit on the ‘points’ so you can’t pay for 5 years in GP2, scraping a couple of podiums and that being enough to get your F1 license. I’d also say that only winning a championship immediately below GP2 should be a way in and ideally couple that with at least a season in GP2 or the equivalent with a minimum points haul from that season.

          So, in other words, either very good results in GP2, or a championship at a lower level plus good results in GP2.

  2. I will say it again, and again and again:
    WE WANT FRIJNS

    WE WANT FRIJNS

    WEEEE WAAANT FRIIIJJJJJJNNNNNNSSSSSSSSSSSS

    • Bring back Spyker then – that’s the only way he’s ever going to get a seat. F1 doesn’t fancy people, who say what they think without having it filtered through a PR womble’s censorship module.

  3. well, daddy is probably doing his son no favors. chances are he is way to young for a seat in f1 and thus will kill all prospects of a successful racing career by being way in over his head. better drivers killed or almost killed their careers by coming to f1 when they weren’t yet up to the task. even button said he came to f1 too young, and if it wasn’t for the wonder that was the 2009 brawn car, he would have ended up as an underachieving journey man.

    if the russian were smart, he would have given sauber his money and have them fund a development program for his son with parts of it. sticking a 17 year old in an f1 car is a stupid idea and it speaks for the delusions of his father that he doesn’t realize that.

    • These “daddys” can be kept away by FIA enforcing requirements to fulfill prerequirsites. For ex. must be a champ of prenominated league. if – not champ – cannot apply. go away. And not all openwheel racingleagues should give a pass to superlicence – I don’t think that winning todays Japanes F3 is enough. But if league and competition there improves – then FIA could nominate. Nomination should be for certain period only and must be periodacally reevaluated. If competition drops and there is no real drivers (only hobbyists) then this league will lose accreditation as superlicence prereq. But can gain back.

    • Absolutely agree. It has to end in tears for Sirotkin. 5 laps down on his teammate?….humiliated…in the wall all year… the probabilities are endless.

    • If the FIA had a backbone then it would not give him a super-licence, but inevitably it will. Sauber will probably plead for one as it desperately needs this contract to save the team.

      In an ideal world, BMW would re-buy the team, once the old Allianz brand director comes in, and pick up Frijns after next year, when he had a title battle in GP2. In the meantime Bianchi-Gutierrez is a strong line up. Frijns-Nasr after that would be strong for BMW, giving it another year or two to find its feet.

  4. The 2014 calendar does beg a few questions. Such as, why can’t Austria, Hungary and Germany be on consecutive weeks? Or 3 in 4 weeks? Swap Silverstone with Austria and you also avoid the clash with the Wimbledon finals which always dilutes TV interest in the race.

    In some ways it is a real shame there isn’t something to tie Canada with. It is a long way to go but it is a good track. They do need another race in that area to help the long term sustainability of both.

    • Don’t get me started, I’ve refrained from becoming apoplectic until we see what comes out of Croatia.

      Still even then the schedule may as well be on the back of a cigarette packet – as we reported the deal for the German GP was only settled 4-5 weeks before the race.

      It really is pathetic that the sport touted as the 3rd most watched globally behind the Olympics and the Soccer World cup can’t plan more than a few weeks/months ahead.

    • I’m pretty sure Singapore has an exclusivity clause in its contract, i.e. no race will be held back-to-back with it, even though it would suit in this instance. I fully expect Korea to drop out, although they are contracted, and including them here is another way for Bernie to extract more cash from them before they go. They have to either host another race, 6 months on from the last one, or pay even more than they were going to to cancel the contract!

      I’m clueless on the British GP question, maybe its a question of a sport weekend (like Le Mans was) or Germany-Austria not wanting to be b2b.

      • …or maybe its Ecclestone getting on a bit…. like when he suggested last year there might be a French Grand Prix the same weekend as Le Mans.

        The FIA then regulated to prevent F1 having a GP at all during the Le Mans weekend.

  5. Guess Kimi will be staying put now that Lotus landed that big investor. And the 2-year deal tells me that’s two years to Kimi’s retirement or moving to another team.

    • Still no title sponsorship… Truth to rumours that Renault is looking to increase its presence? Maybe we’ll have the Renault Lotus team next year or Renault Burn or even Renault Genii…

      Kimi is Ferrari bound…

      • I hope so, I’ll be so disappointed if no big-name move happens this year, after all the crazy speculation during the summer it would be like those M&S adverts with the salivating food…which is…just adverts!

        • What they could be doing is creating a false sense of “want”. Genii is investment bankers/venture capitalists and they’s their game. Make it sound like you don’t want to miss the boat and get people pushing and shoving to get on… Then charge them over a barrel for it :p

          • Could they become Title Sponsor though? Apart from Saudi King project what other global projects do they have/do they want to have?

            Oh and what happened to Infinity Racing and their technology investment/partnership?

          • “what happened to Infinity Racing”…

            ..as the fans at certain grounds when their team takes the lead over the opposition… “Oh its all gone quiet over there…its all gone quiet over the there….”

            I did say at the time it was all rather vague…. and then Lopez made a strange comment about 6 weeks later saying to the effect, ‘we’re not pushing it – its there if we want it’.

  6. Is the inclusion of Mexico City and bargaining chip for Bernie to make someone pay and get going with the NJ GP? It really surprises me. Hadn’t heard anything about Mexico.

  7. I sympathise only to some extent with the pay-driver problem but one question I’ve asked here before, and not received a valid answer (i.e. unbridled by personalities and subjective emotions) is:
    Since F1 as we know it started in 1950 ‘rich’ people have been able to buy drives, and/or the cars themselves, in order to compete, without regard to talent or experience. Those with talent were thus able to show their worth and perhaps be offered a ‘works drive’ (as it used to be called). Others enjoyed themselves before falling by the wayside.
    But why is this situation perceived to be worse now – apart from a question of degree – and/or expected to get even worse…?
    Indeed most of what I see written here seems to suggest this is a new problem, and should be checked immediately. The FIA has long had restrictions on the issuing of Super-licences, but has frequently not followed them. I do agree that this should be rectified, and the points system is a very good one – a bit like penalty points in reverse… 😉
    Remember history… 😉

    • Back in the day, the number of cars entered was a lot more and exactly as you suggest, if you were moderately wealthy you could afford to buy a seat or even a car.

      Teams like Cooper and Lotus had about 20 employees and even the works teams were a fraction of the size they are now.

      With just 22 slots in the world’s premier racing series, and even then only 18 have some chance of making Q3, the opportunities for talented ‘skint’ drivers are much smaller.

      Even if you get a drive in a Caterham, nobody knows how good you are unless there is a Heikki in the team as a benchmark. So Pic and Bianchi are relatively good compared to their team mates, but how good no one knows.

      Only Grosjean and Perez have been given a top seat in recent times and both of them have sponsorship to bring. The likes of Williams, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia have chosen to go for pay to drive pilots because funds are in short supply. That leaves Toro Rosso (who only recruit from the Red Bull young driver programme) and then Force India who will take experienced drivers and pay them a salary.

  8. While I’ll admit I am excited by Formula One’s latest planned excursions to Austria, Russia and Mexico, I am really disappointed about New Jersey once again failing to appear on the calendar. I want to believe that it is just a bargaining tactic used by Bernie before it is actually put on the calendar, but that just doesn’t sound likely.

    I just worry that this will be another thing that will put the people of the United States off Formula One. Having another race in the country will have an impact on attendances at the Circuit of the Americas, but ultimately another race should generate more publicity. F1 races in Montreal, Mexico City, Austin and Sao Paulo are all in a much more convenient time zone than races in Europe and Asia, which increases the likelihood of picking up potential fans. There are other benefits, like more exposure for companies in these countries, increasing potential sponsorship opportunities and picking up disenfranchised fans of IndyCar (or even just some people who feel that they can keep up with more than one racing series). I think that finding a way of racing in New Jersey – even at the great expense of Bernie – is better than looking weak and pulling out, and just appearing in a negative light to potential fans in the United States.

  9. Whatever kimis doing, I hope to god that the hulk gets the other seat, we got perez and ricciardo in better seats now, and it’d be a dying shame if nico didn’t get one too.

  10. Pingback: Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 7th September | thejudge13·

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