Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 21st October 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day.

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What happened to… (04:30)

Boullier still hopeful (04:30) Updated 17:27

Marussia aiming high…perhaps too high (05:10)

Kimi hoping for India return (05:25)

Todt looking likely to continue (06:40)

Alonso and Magnussen future teammates? (06:50)

Massa edges closer (13:41)

Customer cars on the agenda again (15:12)

Dodgy tyres again (15:42)

Quantum Motorsport/Lotus announcement imminent (15:53)

F1 too safe and not challenging enough (17:41)

Lewis at home (17:42)

Rubens ruled out (14:48)

Sirotkin ‘Tomorrow never came’ (18:35)

Daniil Kvyat confirmed at STR (21:05)

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What happened to…

It has been a horrible season for Formula One exile Timo Glock – or ‘that Irish fellow Tim O’Glock’ as Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond once called him.

Losing his race seat at Marussia in favour of a financially more patent pay driver, the German, who also raced for Jordan and Toyota in Formula One, found asylum in the DTM. Considering the heaps of former or at the time future Formula One drivers, who have driven in the premier German Touring Car series, it is not the worst place to be in.

Coming in at the twelfth hour in team MTEK BMW, which has competed for the first time in 2013, Glock found it difficult to adjust to the tin tops. While there was definitely nothing wrong with Glock’s driving, both the team’s and Glock’s inexperience showed during the season. A third place finish at the Red Bull Ring, in Austria, was Glock’s only points paying finish as the DTM prepared for the traditional finale at Hockenheim.

One week before that, Glock and fellow DTM driver, two times champion Timo Scheider, starred in the annual TV Total Stock Car Crash Challenge, an annual celebrity demolition derby organized by TV multi-talent, Stefan Raab, in which points are awarded for spinning other cars around or bashing them into a barrel roll.

It seemed as if the man from the Odenwald used the crazy event to drive all the frustration off his back. Starting in the 1500cc class Glock was so wild he lead the 10 minute demolition race comfortably when he scored the most spectacular moves by sending a competitos car flying over the embankment and punched another one into a double barrel roll. So big was his lead that although totalling his car after only six of ten minutes, he still ended up second.

It seemed as if these talents would come in handy in yesterday’s DTM final. In more than 20 years there hasn’t been a DTM race that was as hard fought as the bashfest in the torrential rain at Hockenheim. With the driver’s championship already decided in favour of Audi’s 2010 Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller, but with both manufacturer’s and team title still up for grabs there was no holding back.

For the first time this year Glock had managed to reach the Q4 shootout in qualifying and started 4th. As the field took off, on a track so wet it would have been a race delay in Formula One, pandemonium broke out as the cars dove into turn one. Being chopped across the bow by championship runner-up Augusto Farfus, Glock sent the Brazilian into a spin and fell back to fifth, but by lap 11 he had picked up all but race leader Bruno Spengler, from Canada – the best position he had run in all year. When Spengler ducked into the pits for the first of his two mandatory pit stops, Glock took the lead for the first time in his short DTM career.

Glock fought a race long battle with Mercedes Junior Roberto Merhi, who ran second despite starting from 21st and serving a drive-through penalty early in the race. Both came in for the first time with only nine laps to go. Unlike Glock’s MTEK team however, Mercedes had gotten the tyre pressures wrong on Merhi’s car and Glock retook the lead just before the two drivers ducked into the pits again five laps later for the second stop. Hanging on to a 5 seconds lead on the rapidly drying track Glock won his and team MTEK’s first DTM race in his tenth start and helped BMW clich the manufacturers title for the second time in a row.

Congratulations, Timo!

Photo (c) Motorsport Total

Photo (c) Motorsport Total

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Boullier still hopeful

With just 4 races to go, and a 33 point deficit to make up, it would seem unlikely that Lotus will be able to finish 2nd in the World Constructors’ Championship. This is shown by the fact bookmakers, William Hill, have them at 4/1 outside chances of finishing there.

However, team principal, Eric Boullier is still remaining upbeat about the team’s chances. In an interview with FormulaOne.com, the Frenchman was bullish as to the possibility of overtaking both Ferrari and Mercedes. Lotus have scored more points than any other team (barring Red Bull) in the last 2 Grand Prix which is why Boullier thinks 2nd is ‘very attainable.’

He said, “If we continue as we have done for the last few races, then mathematically second in the standings becomes a very attainable target.” It appears the introduction of a long-wheelbase upgrade to the car has changed the fortunes of the Enstone team.

Alan Permane credits this, by saying, “There’s no doubt that the long-wheelbase car has benefitted our performance.” He continued to state, “We’re qualifying better, racing better and we’ve been on the podium for the last three races at a variety of tracks from Singapore to Suzuka.”

One can only imagine how this would have worked if it had been coupled with the 2 year failure of a project, the Double DRS. It appears there is life after James Allison, the now Ferrari bound ex-technical director.

Lotus Stretch

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Marussia aiming high…perhaps too high

British newspaper, The Telegraph, has reported on the accounts of Marussia F1, highlighting the fact they have been given a £10 million loan by the taxpayer owned, Lloyds Banking Group. This was all done before selling it’s stake in the team in April this year.

The report from Manor HoldCo, the team’s parent company, showed that borrowing have risen by £33 million in 2012. The 10th place in the WCC, which they lost to Caterham at the final race in Brazil, with a 12th position for Vitaly Petrov, appears to have hit them very hard.

Lloyds’ private equity division, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), first invested £10m in the team in 2009, to give it a 25.3% stake of the then, Virgin Racing. A spokesman for the bank said the sale of the team enabled the bank to “recoup the full value of its investment in the business”.

So even if an F1 team isn’t making money, it is still a very valuable asset. Marussia’s GP3 team made a net loss of £178,000 showing it’s not just the top tier of motor racing which is still suffering the effects of the global economic downturn.

The 2011 documents included Marussia’s aim for a podium finish in the inaugural Russian Grand Prix next year, however, this goal is absent in the most recent accounts. The 2011 and 2012 seasons have been a reality check it appears. The phrase, ‘Learn to walk before you can fly seems appropriate here.’

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Kimi hoping for India return

After a 7th place finish at the Buddh international circuit last year, it appears Kimi Raikkonen is fond of the Indian GP. The Finn is not known for passing a strong opinion on…well…anything, so to hear him talk this way is a surprise.

The Ferrari bound driver said, “It’s a pretty impressive track and the country is a bit different from some of the other places we visit.” He continued to say, “For me, the circuit is nice. It was easier to learn than the Korean track; it’s not as technical but it’s good. It’s always nice to come to a new place like India.

The lack of simulator work appears to have made it harder for Kimi in Korea, in 2012, when he finished 5th behind the man he is set to replace at Maranello, Felipe Massa. What can we speculate is the reason Kimi really wants to return to the New Delhi circuit?

If he wants to maintain his 16 point over Lewis Hamilton in the WDC, he will need to improve on his grid position in the last 5 races. 8th, 11th, 13th, 9th, 9th have been underwhelming by anybody’s standards, given Romain Grosjean’s 3rd in Korea and 4th place start in Japan.

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Todt looking likely to continue

Rumours had been circulating that Jean Todt’s only challenger for FIA presidency, David Ward, was about to give up his bid in order to support Mohammad Bin Sulayem, who was seen as more likely to be victorious in his campaign.

However, Daily Mail correspondent Jonathan McEvoy now reports that Bin Sulayem, the high-ranking Middle Eastern official, has taken himself out of the running.

The significance of this is that Todt has “effectively won re-election“, McEvoy affirmed, because Ward “is struggling to enlist the 26 nominations he requires by the deadline of November 15“.

A statement from Bin Sulayem read: “Following careful consideration, I can confirm that I have accepted Jean Todt’s invitation to support his re-election and to stand for a second term as FIA vice president for sport“.

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Alonso and Magnussen future teammates?

Reports are circulating this morning that the 2014 and 2015 driver markets have had significant developments over the weekend. Firstly, Fernando Alonso may have found a way out of his Ferrari drive, with McLaren and Honda agreeing to split his retainer payment, were a deal to happen. Secondly, the young Dane, Kevin Magnussen, became the Formula Renault 3.5 2013 Champion in Spain this weekend.

Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet, have stated they feel the Spaniard and McLaren protégé will be teammates in 2015. Magnussen has been heavily linked with the Marussia seat that currently belongs to Max Chilton, for 2014.

Bild am Sonntag, the German newspaper, has written of how the McLaren-Alonso possibility is looking ever more likely. With regard to Button, it appears winning a WDC in 2009 with Honda and having very strong links to Japan through his girlfriend, Jessica Michibata, are not enough for the manufacturer to desire his services.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali, has insisted he is not worried. “I do not fear losing Fernando,” he said when speaking to the German magazine Sport Bild. “He has a contract and he recently made clear that he is staying. He wants to win with us, and we want to win with him.

What’s the worst that can happen for Alonso? When he last drove for McLaren, it was against a hotshot up and coming rookie (in 2007) and the pair got on like a house on fire. Does lightning strike twice?

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Massa edges closer

Felipe Massa could be closer to driving for the Toro Rosso team in 2014. TJ13 reported not long following the Ferrari announcement that Massa would be leaving the Scuderia that there had been conversations between both the Brazilian and the Red Bull sister team.

According to Luiz Razia, there is a seat for sale at Toro Rosso. He makes this aqnnouncement on twitter.

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Roughly translated this sarcastically states, “There’s a rumour that they are selling the second seat at Toro Rosso. What a novelty. It has been sold for a few years now 🙂 any more news?”

Brazilian Razia was all set to make his debut for Marussia this year until his sponsors disappeared into thin air.

Italia racing appears to support Razia’s assertion suggesting a group of Russian sponsors are collaborating promote Daniil Kvyat who is merely 19 and a less experienced Red Bull ‘young driver’ than those ahead of him in line for the ‘time served’ opportunity to drive and F1 racing car.

Massa of course in believed to bring substantial sponsorship cash with him which indeed may prove to all, Toro Rosso is not what most people think.

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Customer cars on the agenda again

One of Ecclestone’s red line issues in the two bilateral agreements negotiated between the FIA/FOM and FOM/the teams has been the new F1 Strategy Group. This allows for 18 votes on the committee, 6 from FOM, 6 form the FIA and 6 form the teams.

Today the newly formulated body will convene and on the agenda is the matter of customer cars. This old chestnut has been kicked around for time and memoriam, and at present is not permitted under the current regulations.

Ecclestone recognises that F1 is unsustainable in its current form due to costs, but realises the attraction of 6-7 teams only being able to compete in F1 would be a disaster for the sport.

The alluring idea would likely mean that the works teams Ferrari and Mercedes together with McLaren and Red Bull would probably be the only teams building cars. The rest would be forced to purchases their car (to varying degrees of completion) from these teams. The customer cars would not be able to compete with the ‘works’ cars as they would likely be older iterations of the new cars the big four teams would run.

Costs would be lower for the customer teams and more teams could probably enter the sport.

Any softening of the current definition of ‘customer cars’ is likely to endanger the smaller manufacturers ability to produce their own cars.

Bob Fernley argues the commission is “unethical and undemocratic” however Ecclestone knows that on this topic, the larger teams are broadly in favour of the customer car idea.

Former FIA president Max Mosley has suggested the F1 strategy group may be illegal under EU competition laws and is quoted as saying, “To my knowledge, Mercedes has sought legal advice and the answer was that it is contestable.”

On the face of it, it appears wrong that all competitors are not represented on this commission and that the Technical and Sporting Working Groups will be downgraded.

Williams technical chief Pat Symonds thinks that F1 had previously benefited from having input from technical staff in the Technical and Sporting Working Groups, rather than solely relying on team bosses who have different agendas.

“What I’m fearful of is that I think the TWC [Technical Working Committee] as it is now will still be used as a body for let’s call it ‘technical debate’. That ‘technical debate’ will reach conclusions, because that’s what debates should do,” he said.

“They were, particularly the technical one, pitched at the level where it was composed of a number of people who had the ability to make decisions, but were not divorced from what was going on.

The difference is that it’s then up to the FIA how they treat those conclusions. And I guess my fear is that they will be selective about it.”

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Dodgy tyres again

Earlier this season, my keyboard would refuse to produce the combination of letters that spelled ‘tyres’ anymore. The spin coming from certain quarters over the Pirelli 2013 tyres was outrageous yet Pirelli were perceived by the casual observer to be the culprit.

Poor understanding of the tyres had led certain teams to produce their 2013 cars to be far less effective than others at optimising the aerodynamics of the car and reduce tyre wear. This led to tyre pressures and camber angles being run which exceeded the Pirelli recommended limits substantially. The tyres explode and the rest is history.

Pirelli always contested the tyres were safe if operated properly, however any company suffering the torrent of abuse about it’s product – whether fair or not – would do as Pirelli did – change the tyre.

Hembery warned us all more than once that a stiffening of the original; 2013 tyre would see ‘Red Bull run away with it’ – which is exactly what has happened.

Anyway, Pirelli are not the only tyre manufacturer who has been questioned over the durability and safety of their product.

Michelin – who manner hanker for to return to F1 – were embarrassed because their tyres were so fragile, they recommended all their runners in the 2005 US Grand Prix withdrew from the race. This left 6 cars contesting the event.

This weekend, those of you who follow Moto|GP will know that Bridgestone – who built the bullet proof tyres which carried Schumacher to title after title – announced that they could not guarantee the durability of the tyres for more than 10 laps of the 27 lap race.

Dorma (MotoGP’s governing body) therefore decided the following changes would be made for the race. Drivers must change bikes either on lap 9 or lap 10. A lap 9 pit stop would require a further stop before the end of the race.

Any rider who failed to comply would be disqualified and the honour of being disqualified went to championship leader Marc Marquez for coming in on lap 11.

Dodgy tyres everywhere when you look carefully enough…..

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Quantum Motorsport/Lotus announcement delayed

The twittersphere welcomed a new member today. – Quantum Motorsports. They have tweeted 3 matters of note thus far.

16 th October: “Launching soon”.

18th October: “Launching 10:10 GMT 22.10.13”

21st October: “Thank you for the early positive support. We look forward to bringing you announcements soon”.

It’s like a version of “up – up – and away”… which takes days

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In the meantime Nico Hulkenberg has repeated again this time to German TV ZDF, “There is nothing to report and nothing is signed.”

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F1 too safe and not challenging enough

The future of F1 TV punditry appears in safe hands when the old hacks move on. To be fair, they had little to do as they watched the processions that were called races as the like of Schumacher eeked out 0.1s per lap over Mika to condemn each ‘race’ to a slow death.

Yet gone are these days when it was one long coffee break for anF1 commentator, and now we hear them complaining that even they are confused by the modern strategies and number of pit-stops because their pieces of paper for recording stops only have room for 4 – so they can’t count above that???

Anyway, speaking to the Guardian, Anthony Davidson hits out at the modern F1 circuits and suggests the fear factor has been removed from F1 with serious consequences.

“I feel a driver should be challenged and should be punished for mistakes; it’s what makes people follow the sport in quite a gruesome way – it’s the danger, racing drivers should be heroes.”

TJ13 argued in the 3 part ‘booing pandemic’ articles that to be a hero requires more than being the statistically most successful at anything.

To be fair, Davidson is not suggesting we have a death toll akin to the late 60’s and 70’s. “We don’t want to see fans get injured or drivers get injured or killed but the drivers should get punished. On some modern circuits it’s pathetic when you see drivers going off the track and nothing happens,” said Davidson.

Whether liked or loathed, drivers were universally respected in days of yore when they put their lives on the line every time they entered the cockpit of a racing car. Yet improving safety and retaining historical challenges are not mutually exclusive asctivities.

Other sports have faced similar challenges. Historic golf venues, for example, when emasculated via technological advances have found ways to re-create the challenge of the course given a new era of competitor with better equipment.

We hear modern F1 drivers refer to the relative simplicity of corners like 130R and Eau Rouge and this is an indictment on the sport’s governing body’s desire to retain the challenge of such great sections of F1 history in a modern yet equally challenging and ‘punishing’ form.

What is missing is the “fear factor”, argues Davidson. He compares the challenge of the Degner corners at Suzuka, where a misjudgement will put you in a wall, against Copse at Silverstone – “A ballsy high-speed corner that is not a challenge because you have a massive run-off area of Tarmac on the exit”.

Most modern corners Davidson states, “are borderline too safe. The FIA have done an incredible job, amazing when you think of where it used to be in the 60s and the 70s, and the cars are going faster now than ever before. The problem is, the safer the circuit becomes the more ruthless the driving becomes. So today there is such little respect for each others’ safety on the track. They feel like they can bang wheels in a straight line, but ‘the car is mega-safe – it will take it’ is the belief and therefore you get this crazy, almost borderline reckless driving coming into play.”

There was a big debate in 2012 following the antics of Grosjean and Maldonado whether today’s young F1 drivers showed too little respect for others and the circuit. Well here are the reasons why that may be the case.

Clive Bowen, MD of Apex Circuit Design told Autosport in May this year, “Knowing there is virtually no consequence to running wide has made drivers think they are invincible. We are nurturing young drivers who don’t know what to do if they encounter a low-grip surface.”

Bowen advances the idea of a 4 metre grass verge between the edge of the circuit and the run off area which of course would in all probability mean that an ‘off’ into the current car park areas would be much less under control than at present.

Anthony Davidson has the authority to speak on this matter as in 2012 whilst competing in Le Mans suffered a high speed and most dramatic crash. He recalls, “I pretty much thought I was going to meet my maker. I didn’t hit my head throughout it, so my memories are completely intact. The way the engine stalled in mid air – I could hear the sound of the wind going over the car – thinking about my family and the fact that I was probably going to die.”

Even so he firmly concludes, “There has got to be compromise with safety and I feel its just going to far at this stage. As a driver you have to live with the fact you might die one day. Otherwise you might as well just play computer games.”

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Lewis at home

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Rubens ruled out

There has been speculation about a return to F1 for the sports longest serving competitor and whether he would drive indeed for Sauber. Speaking to ‘Jovem Pan , Barichello now admits, “The near future is in the stock car series. Probably with an extension with my current team and sponsors.”

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Sirotkin ‘Tomorrow never came’

Whilst Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne and Antonio Felix da Costa fought for the title in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Sergey Sirotkin struggled into 9th place in the championship – some 213 points behind the eventual winner.

The highlights of the year were 2 podiums – a 2nd place in Arden and a 3rd place in Hungary. Since the Sauber announcement he could do no better than 12th place.

The young Russina had this to say at the weekend when surrounded by the world’s media following the final round of the championship in Austria. “This was the worst season of my life; I was very unlucky. Every time I would say, ‘tomorrow…. next time’”. Yet tomorrow never came for Sirotkin but it is fast approaching for his F1 debut in Australia.

Asked whether he was ready for the up coming challenge, Sergey revealed “Our preparation programme has just started so I am not quite ready but by the time the first race comes, I will be ready, I know that. There is nothing I am afraid of; I am looking forward to it”

Exactly what the Russian kid will be ready for is not yet clear, even though he believes the step will be no problem.

“It’s a bit different driving an F1 car. I need to get used to the power steering. It took a bit of time but we were happy with our lap times at Sochi. The minimum speeds in the corner are very similar to my current car. The step that needs to be made is not surprising, it is to be expected like any other championship”

Of course Sergey will get plenty of miles under his belt during winter testing in Jerez and Bahrain, but it is tough for a driver to emerge from the Formula Renault series and perform well in F1, particularly having had their ‘worst season’ ever.

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Daniil Kvyat confirmed at STR

Scuderia Toro Rosso confirmed that Daniil Kvyat will drive for the team from the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season. The 19 year old Russian, who is part of the Red Bull Young Driver Programme, will be Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement for the coming season.

Kvyat will partner Jean-Eric Vergne, who will be retained for the next year. The Rome based youngster has been competing in GP3 and the FIA Formula 3 European Championship this year, so will have no problems with any language barrier.

Franz Tost had this to say on the matter, “We are pleased to continue our policy of bringing on drivers from the Red Bull Junior Programme. Daniil is a very talented driver, which can be seen from his results in all the junior categories.”

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48 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 21st October 2013

  1. Now Bild tells that Alonso would leave Ferrari after this season…

    • I guess that all depends on if Il Padrino can bully him out before the end of the year. Alonso is a tough cookie though!

  2. Alonso-Magnussen would be a great lineup. Although I just read on the cik-FIA website that Hamilton beat in 2000 Rosberg, Ardigo and Kubica, and lost out in the world championship from an engine failure while right on/in the lead…. At 15, the same age as young Max Verstappen, who won it this year, becoming youngest ever.

    Given its been speculated that Honda are paying McLaren, possibly to ensure front running success, maybe sponsorship from Perez will not be needed, clearing the way for a junior driver and Alonso’s large retainer/cancellation fee (maybe followed by Santander? Now that would be a Richter scale sponsor swap!).

    When Alonso retires, then perhaps Vandoorne could be picked up… Also, Alonso’s karting record is just immense to read. 6 national titles in a row, Crikey.. Only Jenson can give him a run for his money, with youngest ever European Super A champion at 17, starting the boom for young drivers…. Decisions, decisions..

    My choice: Alonso-Button would be a heck of a team, along with Magnussen-Vandoorne at Force India in 2015!

  3. I think McLaren will give Magnusson 1 year to prove himself (2015) as I can see an Alonso/Hamilton line up from McLaren in 2016 if the Brackley team can’t give Hamilton a WDC by then. With Button gone I think Lewis would be a shoe-in along side Alonso, with Ross Brawn as team principle. Brawn will have spent ’15 as Alonso’s boss and already has a good relationship with Lewis (and we know he rates both drivers highly) so in ’16 they will both trust Brawn to give equal opportunity provided the maths still work for both to have a shot at the title. I’ve posted this before and stand by my prediction. McLaren/Honda with Brawn/Alonso/Hamilton dream team and the red and white livery of the previous Honda era, should be on paper at least be the strongest all round package that includes both drivers (not that the livery will make any difference to if they win, more to just stir up emotions) the last time McLaren would have had the same pedigree was the Dennis/Senna/Prost line up.

    • I think the red/white livery was due to Marlboro, so it would all depend on the new sponsor…although Santander is red/white, isn’t it? 😉

      • Was just me being nostalgic, as a kid that is what I associated with McLaren. AlsI believe i Honda’s colour is red too, plus if Alonso brings Santander money it would all tie up nicely. Just imagine the emotions it would stir in those of us old enough to remember a Senna/Prost front row, if we saw again those classic colours 1-2 on the grid.
        I am of course indulging myself with these thoughts but it would just be soooo cool.

        • I’m the same, I so want to see Hamilton back, and then have Brawn strategise a Hamilton- Alonso 1-2 in two red/white cars!

    • @clear view – it would be epic, colour scheme especially. Maybe some Philip morris moola from Ferrari too?

  4. Judge, I’d really appreciate an article with ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments for customer cars. Not sure where I stand on this. On one hand, it’s vital to have several manufacturers who may offer new ideas on the development side of things. On the other hand, increasing costs start to make pay-drivers the norm.
    The problem and the solution is not on the customer cars. It’s on the regs! Change the regs to allow more racing + Move F1 back to terrestrial TV + Reduce prices for races = Attract more and more fans –> Create more exposure for sponsors + manufaturers = Success!
    Unfortunately, too simplistic a model for anyone to take note or make fat money in the short-term, cause everyone’s in it for a quick buck…

    • I wrote in favour of this previously. Taking emotion out of the equation (i know, I’m asking a lot!) and its a no brainer for me.

      Force India are nearly one already with their McLaren deal. Same goes for a few other teams.

      The only downside, to me, is the possible loss of some jobs in the teams.

      It would also mean that we could be open and transparent about the bulls and the mini bulls 😉

      • If Mercedes pulled out (Red Bull will at some point) the long term result could very well be similar to Indycar where the annual winner is either a Penske or a Chip Ganassi car/driver.

        • But should it not be about choice?

          I would have preferred to see the new 3 (sadly only two now) being able to buy decent cars when they joined the grid instead of being in a race of their own at the back of the grid.

          There’d be more chance a of them picking up sponsorship if they were using a Ferrari, McLaren or Merc car.

          There’d be more chance of a decent driver taking a punt with them than joining a crap team with no chance of points.

          Why not buy a customer car and develop it if the team have the budget to do so? Some aero work could be done in house and fabricated externally.

          Would this not mean manufacturers are more likely to stay in the sport if they could further reduce costs.

          Could we possibly have bigger grids?

          I really can’t see a major downside to this at all.

          After all, customer cars are a large part of F1 history – just not current history.

          • Indeed, but in those days Lotus could win championships with Colin, 2 drivers and about 2 blokes in a garage….

    • It wasn’t really an in depth look at the issue – that would require far more analysis.

      More a quick reference on the issues. IMHO It’s a cop out of the real costs/income distribution debate.

      For me if this is the best solution then why not just go spec racing – Indy style.

      There are better ways of managing cost control – thus allowing teams to innovate their own vehicles.

      • Its the distribution of income that’s the problem. If CVC stopped milking F1 for all its worth, they could still make a profit and at the same time provide teams with enough funds to compete at a decent level. If CVC took 10% instead of 50% and all these “historical importance” payments were knocked on the head F1 would be a much brighter place. We CAN NOT loose the privateers. As we know, when F1 stops serving RedBull’s purpose (when they start loosing more) then they will pull out, Honda don’t hang around indefinitely on past experience and if Merc don’t get a WDC/WCC within the life of Hamiton’s contract, then they will go back to supplying engines. We need to keep the engineering skill base as diversity drives innovation.

        So to top it off, my feeling is customer cars are not the answer to keeping F1 fresh and unique.

        • This is one of the only reasonable arguments I’ve heard against customer cars.

          However, how long have Ferrari, McLaren, Williams (not that many would want their cars at the mo!) and Lotus (in their various guises) been in the sport? Manufacturers always come and go, budgets have always been a problem and the sport constantly evolves.

          The only issue i really see with customer cars is that there could be issues around powerplants. For example, how easy would it be to put a Ferrari engine into a Lotus chassis – its likely you’d have to use the same powerplant at the supplying chassis manufacturers or else spend lots on development. There would possibly be some IP challenges, but nothing which couldn’t be overcome.

          • ….Well the specs of the V6 engines make them more interchangeable then ever before in F1. Simple mountings must be used and a relatively small number of mountings are allowed. (I can’t remember the exact details)…

          • @colin- thanks for the compliment on the quality of my argument against customer cars, I just feel it’s not what F1 is about these days and I know there have been customer cars in the past, but not all changes to F1 over the years have been bad and I think removing complete customer cars is one on the good changes.
            An alternative to help teams with budget is to remove/limit the development over the season. Hear me out, you could say that the car produced at season’s start has to be raced in that guise until summer break and then 1 upgrade package is allowed for the commencment of the season there after. You could revert back to old parts but after the 1 permitted upgrade that is it. This would illiminate all the track specific parts that etc. That would save a ton on money.

            There is a possible compromise in customer cars, which is that the chassis is provided but the aero body work is team specific so you could have 3 teams buying a McLaren chassis and then 3 independent aero solutions. This would keep allow smaller teams to use the chassis development funds for better aero (aero in never going away, like it or not) as its chassis and aero that stops Caterham from being at the front with lotus and RBR because they all run the same engine. Even if they ran the same chassis as of now they would still be at the back due to aero deficiencys.

            It’s a hard 1 to call really, I want to see a large field of closely competitive cars but at what price? I still, at the moment, think that a better distribution of funds is a better and much more longer term solution to many teams current tussle with the brink of banckruptcy. Customer cars would be an easy short term answer as the big 4(ish) teams would love to raise even more money from the sale of their products and help get a return on the R&D costs. BUT, when no-one wants 16 cars run by 4 teams effectively then it will be too late as there won’t be, a) enough top quality technical staff left to go round I’d 4 new teams want to Re-start chassis production and b) any team wanting to build there own chassis in the future will be so short of up to date data that the cost would be so great it would be a non-starter and we will have lost one of the few aspects that keeps F1 separate from other high level open wheel series.

            It takes 3 main things to win in F1
            – a good driver
            – a good car
            – a good team

            If any 1 of those 3 are not performing at the highest level, be it track side (McLaren last year) or running smoothly internally (Ferrari last 3 years) or struggling for budget (everyone except McLaren, Ferrari and RedBull) not to mention going up design blind allies (lotus DDRS) or having an under-performing driver (Massa, Perez, Di Resta) or car (Mclaren and to some extent Ferrari) then the top prise will remain unattainable. Although I don’t like admitting it in public too often RedBull have got all 3 running in near perfect harmony. The others haven’t and that’s what makes F1 stand out from the others. Customer cars would start to destroy this uniqueness and once it starts it just a matter of time before F1 becomes swallowed up and lumped in with every other series and looses that special something that makes it stand out.

            P.S.
            I think it would be a no-brainer for customer cars to use the power unit they were designed round and it’s expected different manufacturers units will possibly weigh slightly different to each other and no doubt the chassis will have been designed accordingly.

          • I really like the restriction on development idea…..

            maybe less restrictive than you suggest, but this is where the big teams spend absolute fortunes…….. and the smaller teams are lumped with predominately the car designed at the beginning of the year…..

  5. Re-Massa to Toro Rosso

    I read (can’t remember where as I read so much F1) that Dietrich M (not being cool just can’t spell his last name) is preparing to sell of some or all of Toro Rosso and hand over the parental control so to speak to a third party. Don’t know how true these rumours are though. But if Massa can bring some budget it will make it all the more desirable to someone new.

    • I loved the Massa to STR stories here… in part because I had to keep pondering if The Judge was being serious or satirical. In either case, it made me laugh to imagine how Marko and Tost would craft their PR announcement of such a signing.

      Back to reality… the signing of Daniil Kvyat by STR is big news, in that they’ve passed over da Costa and Sainz. I follow Euro F3 (and not GP3), and I was highly impressed by this guy… he has the chops (talent) to go far. (Not sure if he’s ready for F1, though.)

      Does everyone else hear that sloshing sound? It’s the sound of those Russian rubles flowing into the paddock. Bernie’s BRIC strategy continues.

      More importantly, there are still 5 quality seats left in this silly season:
      1 @ McLaren – That is reserved for Perez, unless he blows up, then either Gutierrez (MX money) or Magnussen (favored son).

      1 @ Lotus – Reserved for Hulkenberg, unless the money is no show, then it’s highest bidder (Massa?)

      1 @ Sauber – Gutierrez to stay? Recently the team has shared interesting technical stuff about their early season handling issues, and their impressions of Gutierrez. Sauber need someone fast in this seat, (as the oligarch’s kid may be slow or worse). If the promised rubles arrive, then fast drivers with no money could apply.

      2 – Force India – These two seats don’t count because the decision process is… indecisive. They’ll decide after everyone else, but they say they only want the fastest drivers, so whoever is available come the Christmas holidays may get a seat here.

      Not seeing any room for Massa here, except at the 5 available seats at the back of the grid, (Williams, Marussia, Caterham).

  6. One can only imagine how this would have worked if it had been coupled with the 2 year failure of a project, the Double DRS…

    Surely it was coupled with the 2 year failure of DDRS ?

    One can only imagine what they might have come up with had they not wasted all those resources on DDRS.

    Though it’s possible that DDRS might be of significant benefit under next year’s regs ?

  7. Ofcourse the larger teams are in favour of the customer car idea, besides making their own cars, they sell complete cars to the other teams, by doing this, they’re also taking the money coming from the television rights, that would normally go to the smaller teams.

    • It’s a bit silly for me this customer car idea.. It will mean we wont see the likes of Sauber or Force India beating their more experienced “partners”. Self interest at the centre of this me thinks…

      • But why not Don?

        Force India were kicking McLarens arse until they had to capitulate on tyres.

        A significant portion of the car is McLaren (chassis tub excluded) but they did a better job on the aero so were ahead.

        I think customer teams can be easily regulated to make sure that they don’t give advantage to their supplier during a race.

        And it would definitely help new starts, and encourage new teams to join.

        Personally, i find it hard to understand the reluctance, other than conservatism. Which is fine, if that’s what it is. I’m all for tradition, but i suppose I’m more liberal and consider change to be progress. Its not always positive in outcome, but if not change it again. Back to what it was if necessary.

        • …I’m not disagreeing with some of your ideas Colin – however we can start very easily by reducing the spread of prize money from a potential £120m (1st) to £10m (10th) – this is beyond ludicrous.

          In 2012 Man Utd win the English Premier League, they got c. £60m prize money, Wigan were relegated and got c. £40m.

          • Here here your honour, that is my argument against customer cars (re-my previous post slightly further up. Correct distribution of sport generated income (tv, host fees, prize money) and less being creamed of by CVC et al would allow all teams a budget to be very competitive.

            NO CUSTOMER CARS, PLEASE.

          • You’re pushing an open door with me on the issue of prize money Judge.

            However, how long have the teams been asking for this?

            I spoke about Bernards book in previous post. The amount of detail in this about the teams battles with Bernard is fantastic. And he’s given them feck all in relative terms.

            No business will willingly give away profits.

            And with this new (illegal?) forum i don’t see any team that gets the big bucks feeling all emphatic towards the little teams and giving away their money. Especially Ferrari. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

            So who is going to make the prize money changes happen. FOTA is a dead duck. They couldn’t get consensus to a spending cap.

            Manufacturers are hiding spend in their company r&d budgets.

            I would love a proper cap, hence the reason (i can’t believe I’m about to say this!) I’d like to see kinky Max back in charge, for a little while.

            Regarding customer cars, i agree with CV’s sentiments around the best developers, designers, engineers, aero bods etc working their magic. But lets take a reality check for a second. How many teams are in deep shite regarding budgets. Considering budget caps will not happen, and smaller teams will not get a proportional increase in prize money what are the options? Another SRT? Another Lotus (real lotus, not the current branding exercise)?

            I’m not saying i love the idea of customer cars, I’m saying its a better option than Sauber going bang, or taking on a child with money, or lotus being on the brink and not being able to pay staff.

            If we want to be all Darwinian and let them go bang then fine. Its just I’dprefer they had the option to buy a chassis, transmission and engine package and bolt on their own aero until they can afford to do more.

            Final point re staff being let go. Brawn had to let a significant amount of their staff leave when Honda galloped off into the sunset. If, for example, Sauber were financially banjaxed would it be better that they a) go wallop or b) buy a Ferrari for a couple of seasons and use their fantastic wind tunnel to put together an aero package until they weather the financial storm – and not put a child in a car who may be a danger to himself and others.

            I’m not saying the options are perfect. I’m saying there ARE options.

            Sauber, in the example above, could take a financial ‘time out’ for a year or two and then get back to being a full chassis designer and manufacturer if they wished.

            Its about choices, that’s all.

          • But the man who can change the distribution of funds is promoting customer cars…… if all we want to do is take it up the Jacksie on Bernie’s whims – no worries…

            just like his distribution of funds catastrophe – he will create more carnage over customer cars….

            2 wrongs and all that…. or if you prefer… the lesser of 2 Bernie’s… ideas.

            Its all wrong.

          • Although I am a Christian and would now wish ill health or misfortune on others, surely Berni’s time must be up soon. I can’t imagine him living a particularly reserved life style, fine wine fine food and fine women. Along with pretty much every other luxury going, he must be due a stroke if heart attack soon. Then he can be replaced with people who give a shit.

            Don’t worry I said 5 ‘Hail Mary’s’ 1 ‘Out Father’ as penance for my impure thoughts, but I think if the big man upstairs could see what Bernard is doing to the final bastion of purest open wheel non-stock racing then I think there would be a whacking great lightening bolt heading for that particular poison dwarf.
            F1 is now too big for 1 (very old) man to run singlehandedly. He doesn’t seem too clear on the technical side anymore and asking for every race to emulate Canada 2010 (I think) just says it all. He has always been able to divide and rule by offering financial sweeteners political advantages to anyone who complains that he likes or leave the ones he doesn’t out in the cold (Marussia is the latest example). This is not how run a mmulti-billion $, multinational business that is very much in the public eye.
            New blood at the top is what is required, the era of brown envelopes stuffed with cash passed under the dinner table is all but dead.

            The King is dead! Long live the King

        • Is Formula 1 not about technical innovation? About manufacturers making the best car they can? Call it the battle of the brains…

          Also, think of the jobs that will be lost. If you get a chassis made from a team why employ engineers to do it?

          I don’t know to what extent the ‘technical partnerships goes and if as you say, it is basically the whole car bar the aero but if you want a customer series then GP2 is perfect.

          Maybe I am a purist but I want to see different people interpret the rules and come up with different solutions. If the teams are serious about cutting costs then put a budget cap on racing, no more than $60million spent per team. Difficult to police however it is possible 🙂

          • The constructors aspect is a large part of what keeps F1 above the rest. Loose that and you loose the point of it being a fully integrated team sport.

  8. All I have to say about Sergei Sirotkin is that 2014 will see the 1st F1 death since 1994. Super-licences are for super-drivers, not ok drivers. If you don’t place 1st or 2nd in GP2 or WSR you should NOT be granted a super-licence (to kill) Even GP3 winner should have to compete in the next tier, and win to get to F1

    Muff said!

    • Sorry, but I completely disagree with that. GP3 is more than enough of a qualification to warrant a super licence.

    • Sirotkin and now Kvyat will be fine, just take some time to get up to speed. They will be the two youngest ever drivers on the grid.. Oh look, we have a Russian GP this year as well. Co-incidence?

      That said, I rate Kvyat (he dominated Monza GP3), and Sirotkin could develop into a good driver. Time will tell if they’ve been thrown in too early or not, but at least the cars are now easier to drive than ever before (probably up to a certain point). One could be a Vettel, the other an Alguersuari.

      Gutted for Felix da Costa, he shares a flat with Kvyat as well. As he tweeted – new flatmate needed. Kvyat was definitely 3rd in line until some sponsors backed him in for 2014 (Putin?), but that said as well he was given a lot of racing this year by Marko, to see how many races/categories he could win in. He might as well give Kvyat extra time (2014-16) than the others if they are not rated anymore. Sainz Jr could still be his team mate eventually, maybe shoot out with da Costa next year in WSR, if he is retained in the program. Maybe they are eyeing up Kvyat as a possible Vettel replacement cum a move to Ferrari.

  9. Re : Moto GP

    ” This weekend, those of you who follow Moto|GP will know that Bridgestone – announced that they could not guarantee the durability of the tyres for more than 10 laps of the 27 lap race.

    Dorma (MotoGP’s governing body) therefore decided the following changes would be made for the race. Drivers must change bikes either on lap 9 or lap 10. A lap 9 pit stop would require a further stop before the end of the race. ”

    Actually – due to concerns over the tyres, the race had already been reduced to 19 laps.

    Then Dorna mandated, due to more concerns, that the riders had to change on laps 9 or 10.

    They also had to reduce the Moto 2 race to a half distance of 13 laps due to tyre safety issues as well. Dunlop are the sole suppliers in this series.

    Both Dunlop & Bridgestone not only brought their usual asymetric soft & hard tyres but also sets of EXTRA hard tyres as well, as they had worries about tyre temperatures being excessive, due to a complete resurfacing of the Phillip Island track.

    Their worries were well founded as even the extra hard tyres weren’t safe 🙁

    And the reason for all this ……..

    the tyre companies weren’t allowed to test before the event.

    DOH !!!!

    Oh – and it seems that some teams at previous races were running tyres outwith the manufactures specifications on pressures, to give extra grip.

    Neither Dunlop nor Bridgestone nor Dorna could enforce this, as it wasn’t in the regulations.

    Double DOH !!!!!

    This has now been changed, and random checks on tyre pressures took place during the weekend.

    It’s like Deja Vu all over again 😉

    P.S. – it was actually a thrilling race 🙂

    Seeing the various strategies adopted by each team on when and how to change bikes the quickest. Most riders were faster than an F1 pit stop.

    However …… the strangest strategy was pursued by the championship leader Marc Marquez’s HRC factory Honda team …….

    This was a quadruple DOH !!!!!!!

    He came into the race with a 43 point lead. Only 75 points left ( including this race ) and only needing 7 more points than his nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo, to win the championship.

    So – your told you MUST change bikes on either lap 9 or lap 10.

    From this – Honda infer that they can change bikes on lap 11 ….

    They do so – and Marquez is disqualified !

    Lorenzo wins, and the gap is now down to only 18 points with 2 races left.

    Game On 🙂

  10. Basically, the teams should unite and buy out ownership of F1 – like CART in the US. They had record speeds going on there, and popularity, before the IRL split. The debt could be paid off after say 5-10 years, then after that it’s hunky dory for all the teams. Ticket prices could even be frozen or begin to come down if so prioritised, as all the revenue would be going to the teams and a little to the FIA. With this much profit to share, all the smaller teams could really grow and take on hundreds of extra staff. I make it roughly 1500-2000 jobs simply in the midfield and down, to match the big teams.

    The other argument is cut all costs, austerity if you will, on all non-essential components. Make the teams live within their means (45% of F1 tv revenue split unequally) while the rest goes to CVC/Bernie as profit. CVC have already made many billions from the short time they have owned F1, a billion plus even simply in dividends. But the argument for Bernie is that without his leadership and business guile, would F1 be as good as it is now? He’s really brought it on a long way, including many new countries in the last decade.

    The cynic in me would also draw comparisons to the current state of our country, but I dunno if that kind of economic analysis would be welcomed! I do think we should grow our way out of the liquidity trap and clamp down on inequality (just doing whatever the economics says would be optimal). Japan has now started to do this after two decades of stagflation. Where’s JoJ when you need him!

    • Really enjoyed this post.

      It seems they were offered this route, quite a few times, by Bernard and didn’t take up the offer.

      They also tried to negotiate with our German banker friend who is currently in jail for ‘blackmailing’ a few bob out of Bernard.

      This is the obvious solution to all half logical / strategic thinkers. But the teams always fall down, a trait that Bernard has used to his advantage over the years. They ultimately can’t agree on anything, being too selfcentered and egotistical. Especially the emotional ego maniac that runs Ferrari. Just waive a few bob at him and all the hysterics go away. The man is a buffoon, always thinking short term and rarely big picture. He isn’t a patch on Enzo, no matter how hard he tries.

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