Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 18th November 2013

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Pit Stop World Record

Quantum Motorsports

McLaren Mexican PR disaster

Maldonado losing the plot

Oakley mutli year deal with Ferrari

Austin attendance, not bad, but….

F1 Strategy Group must decide future of tyres

CVC will fire Ecclestone for a criminal offence

Webber’s incriminating evidence

Hulkenberg sceptical as the midfield driver pieces fall into place.



Pit Stop World Record

Records were indeed tumbling in Austin this weekend. Sebastian Vettel beat Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 consecutive race wins in a single season. Further, Red Bull clocked their pit stop for Mark Webber at 1.923 seconds, beating their previous record set with Webber ironically in Malaysia.

If you consider the sequence of events for a pit stop. Car stop – jack – nut removed – wheel off – wheel on – nut replaced – jack down…. then from jack up to jack down, eaqch member of the team on average completed their task in 0.321 seconds.

Red Bull and Mercedes time their own stops by using camera’s above the pit box and it’s come to light in recent weeks that the timing of pit stops is measured differently. FOM TV deliver the times to the broadcaster’s and they calculate the stop from the moment the car is stationary, to the moment it moves from its mark.

This of course includes the driver reaction time having received the signal that he can go. So FOM are measuring the pit stop not merely as a measure of the technical abilities of the pit crew, but as a team activity which includes the driver.

On the FOM measure, Red Bull did still break their previous record from Malaysia. They were recorded at 2.3 during that controversial Asian race weekend, whereas it was 2.2 here in Austin. We haven’t been provided with anything other than the time to 1 tenth of a second – which is rather inaccurate – and further there is an argument that all this pit stop recording be agreed to measured in a standard by all parties concerned.

Williams were a sedentary 3.5-4 seconds as they are still having to take incremental precautions to ensure they loose no more wheels and incur no more fines.


Quantum Motorsports

The script for this would be just about believable if someone was writing a spoof, Austin Powers action hero movie. In June this year, a mysterious and unnamed uber rich middle eastern individual announces through his mouthpiece – Mansoor Ijaz – they are investing in the Enstone based team.

The company they have formed to deliver this investment is called Infiniti Racing.

It is not long before these middle eastern petrol headed motor fanatics realise they have hijacked the space of the sponsor of the team who has one the past 3 drivers’ and constructors’  F1 titles – and are being sued.

Being chased by a global car manufacturing entity, Infinity quickly realise a change of plan is required. The end comes quickly for something that was to be unbounded and endless.

Later, having spent a few hundred thousand dollars on marketing, the phoenix from the Infinity ashes arises. Quantum Motorsports is now the new proud front for the middle eastern money from the Sultan of Brunei.

Interestingly, the word “quantum” is derived from the Latin “quantus,” – which means “how much?”

“How much” time does it take to do something after announcing it is in fact done?

“How much” interference do Lotus/Genii really want from these Quantum people who seem hell bent on taking over the whole team in time?

“How much” bulls^%t can be spoken publically before nobody left has a quantum of respect left for Quantum Motorsports?

All valid questions indeed.

The credibility of Quantum was once again the talk of the paddock in Austin and following the assurances made by Ijaz in Abu Dhabi, a carbon copy statement was issued again that in “1 week” matters would be concluded.

“We live in a world where the banking compliance frameworks and the way in which international transfers work are quite complicated,” said Mansoor Ijaz. “We’re not talking about moving small sums of money from one place to the other. Any time you have Middle East investors involved in a transaction where the monies are coming directly from the Middle East not outside already the complications can be quite significant and the compliance process can take some time, but we’re very close to the end now, I’m pretty sure that we’ll get it done this week.”


Mansoor Ijaz

The detail of the matter appears to be surrounding 2 payments. The first is a $250m disbursement which must be paid to Genii in Luxembourg for the acquisition of 35% of the team. The second payment is for an unspecified amount which will be paid direct to Enstone to fund the ongoing operations.

According to Ijaz, the flow of cash from the Middle East is subject to strict regulatory matters and the payments to Luxembourg can only be mad in tranches of $50m. Further, the alleged payment to Enstone should clear British regulatory authorities today. He is also promising sponsors who will only sign up when Quantum have completed the acquisition of 35% of the Lotus F1 team.

So here we are again – “just one week to go” is the cry… so by  the time we reach Interlagos the deal should be done.

Mansoor Ijaz was once again ingratiating himself in the paddock and particularly with Lotus as he rambled, “I grew up on a farm down in Virginia not too far from here on the East coast of the United States and the work ethic we had when we were growing up, the work ethic that these people have at Enstone is the same… and I’m telling you that we will not quit this week until we finish it and we will finish it this week. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Turning to Boullier he told him he was the “greatest team principal in the paddock”…

…and then made the same joke he had already tried on several other entourages. Ijaz claimed in Romain Grosjean, Lotus had the best driver on the planet…. [wait for it]… because Sebastian Vettel is clearly “out of this world”…. :):):) boom boom….


McLaren Mexican PR disaster

Having sacked Mexico’s favourite son of F1 just over a year when they announced they were going to invest the time to nourish and train Checo into World Champion, McLaren succeeded in hacking the North American nation off even further.

Somehow, the McLaren merchandising operation was infiltrated by as yet unknown persons. Mexican flags were available to purchase for the fans who had travelled from across the border and a sample of this was erected high above the tents on poles.


The Consulate General of Mexico, based in Austin demanded a hearing with the race organisers and FOM to express his government’s deep unhappiness at the abuse of the national flag. A statement from the embassy stated, “The flag showed the image of a marijuana leaf next to the emblem of Mexico,” and they demanded the immediate removal of the flag.

McLaren responded saying, the flags next to a merchandise stalls at the Circuit of the Americas were not authorized or manufactured by the team. The statement blamed a third-party contractor who was not identified.

Further, embarrassment was heaped on the Woking team this weekend as Sergio Perez out qualified his team mate for the 5th consecutive time and then delivered a fairly strong 7th place, whilst Jenson could only managed a disappointing 10th.

Jenson was bullish on Friday about the team’s chances, inferring they may indeed have their best result of the season having posted the second quickest time on Friday in Practice 1.

Yet Jenson had a poor qualifying session and managed just 13th which became grid slot 16 after he was penalised for passing under a red flag in FP1, Matters deteriorated for the Brit when he made a misjudgement early in Sunday’s proceedings and damaged his front wing for a second consecutive race. A dejected Button told SKY, “I’ve got to sort myself out”.


Maldonado losing the plot

It doesn’t matter how much money you have in life, if you persist in being abrasive and arrogant, eventually the number of people who even ‘hang on’ becomes extremely limited. TJ13 wrote a piece last Thursday called “A tale of 2 drivers” which contrasted the graciousness of Perez with the childish petulance of Maldonado.

Further, the track record of the “Crashtor” was re-examined together with statistics that demonstrated he is the most penalised F1 driver in history over a single season.

Following his outburst in Korea where the Venezuelan pouted and sulked stating, “I’m living a really bad moment and I need some motivation to keep doing my best. I want something more. I’m here for something more.

I don’t want to just be in F1, to be honest. It’s better to stay at home, if it’s like that. I don’t care about being a F1 driver, I’m here to win and I need to do whatever it takes to be there.”

This was all car related as Maldonado believes Williams have let him down. This was confirmed on Thursday in Austin when Pastor rather arrogantly smirked, “I’m very happy. I wanted to leave the team, and I’m happy about that”.

The team have not bothered contending this and Maldonado claims it was his decision to leave Williams. “It’s been a tough year, very hard for the whole team, but personally I want to drive something different. This is an important time for me in my career. It’s a tough decision – my decision – but a great one”.

Again the message is the state of affairs is the team’s responsibility not Maldonado’s. “Overall, I feel I delivered more to the team than they did for me. We had a victory, some good results last year, and even this year we’ve done well in some races, but this is not everything. I’m waiting and expecting something more from Formula One.”

Maybe Pastor should have a chat with Heikki Kovalainen, Davide Valsecchi, Robin Frijns, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov… the list could go on. These drivers can testify to the privilege that it is to drive in Formula 1 and how it can never be taken for granted.

Yet “Crashtor” is in a unique position. For a driver who once again this weekend re-enforced the impression he has more than his fair shares of ‘on track incidents’, he also has a monumental supply of cash from his home government. Despite the economic difficulties in Venezuala, Pastor is believed to have around $29m to bring to a team – less a few which he uses to pay himself.

Maldonado’s outburst following qualifying was both mesmeric and almost unprecedented. Regardless of translation, Maldonado was clearly accusing the team of sabotaging his qualification attempt whilst positively favouring Bottas.

“I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressure and the temperatures,” Crashtor stated on Saturday evening. When asked to clarify his apparent accusation, he added: “You need to ask the team, the guys that are working on the car, it is quite clear.”

Claire Williams played this down as post session driver adrenalin, though Maldonado again sneered that “at least it’s only 1 more race” he has to endure with the Grove team.

Clearly, someone had a word with the spoilt brat on Saturday night as his position softened a little on Sunday, though the team refused to comment further on the matter.

Maldonado claims he knows where he will be driving next year – then promptly adds he still has 2 options. Mmm… “I have a solid contract… but still my options are open”. It sounds as though he’s been talking to Mansoor Ijaz.

The Venezualan oil minister also claimed this weekend that a deal was now done with Lotus for the Maldonado drive in 2014. Yet Gerard Lopez contradicts this assertion, “I have read that it is being reported in Venezuela that it is done, but nothing is signed yet. He [Maldonado] is a serious candidate for next year”.

To crown off the perfect weekend, Crashtor damages his front wing on the first corner of Austin circuit and is then involved in another first lap incident which see’s Sutil retire from the race.


Maldonado’s nose out of joint – AGAIN

Pastor should be careful. If Quantum come up with the cash, it will be Hulkenberg who gets Kimi’s empty seat at Lotus, leaving just Sauber and Force India as possible destinations.

Then again, Sauber are heavily linked with Mexican sponsors and Perez could well be on his way back home to Hinwil. This leaves the decision to Bob – builder of fast cars. Whether he wants to oust the dour and critical Di Resta for a darker and moodier version in Maldonado – who knows – but $29m does glitter – A LOT!!!


Oakley mutli year deal with Ferrari

Having had a personal sponsor arrangement with Fernando Alonso for the past 2 years, Oakley chief executive Colin Baden announced a multi year deal between the eyewear specialists and the Scuderia in Austin.

Sportspro report, “The pair will combine to work on technical advances and innovation, although it is not thought that the US manufacturer’s logos will appear on Ferrari’s cars”.


Why so many driver investigations in Austin?

The first principle many F1 fans may not appreciate, is that the stewards predominantly investigate a driver only when a complaint is made by another team. This is why we hear drivers telling their engineers of incidents they’ve experienced, even though to us the viewers it was plain to see.

Even so, some have suggested in Austin we appeared to have more than the usual; number of investigations from the stewards. This is not actually the case.

Jenson Button was handed a 3 place grid penalty as during FP1 he overtook another car under the red flag. The session shouldn’t have been started since the medical helicopter wasn’t present.

In practice when Maldonado was desperately struggling with an alleged sabotaged car, the Williams team protested on his behalf that he was blocked by Gutierrez (Sauber) and Chilton (Marussia). These were upheld and Gutierrez was given a 10 place penalty and because Chilton was almost last anyway – he received a drive through penalty during the race.

JEV was awarded a penalty following the chequered flag for his involvement in a last lap incident with Gutierrez. 20 seconds was added to his time which saw him relegated to   16th place.

The problem the drivers have in Austin is that there are 2 sections of the circuit where the slower car often has no where to go. Similarly at Silverstone, the drivers are briefed to never hang around through the Beckets/Maggots section regardless of whether they are on a fast or ‘slow’ lap.

It appears in Austin, these sections maybe longer or even more tricky to find an extended line which does not cross the racing line.

Austin GP Circuit Characteristics © FIA

Remember the racing line is to straighten the turns as much as possible, so once the cars enter turns 3 through 5, there is no permanent ‘outside ‘ line of rht e slower cars to take. The slow line continually crossed the racing line.

There is some respite around the outside of turn 6, but then again the racing line through 7,8,9, and 10 cuts from left to right and back again repeatedly until the straight down to turn 11. The problems a a little different after the back straight, but again the racing line through turns 13-18 can vary – but does use the extremities of the circuit again.

Again in turns 19 and 20 the cars on the racing line begin extreme right of the circuit and cross to the left on relatively short straights, leaving slower cars a point of no return to cross the racing line.

These problems occur at all circuits to some degree, though the design of Austin and the time between the corners does appear to exacerbate the problem. It’s not insurmountable, but the drivers need to take greater car and understand though 3-6, the best solution is to drive flat out – even if on a slow down lap.


Austin attendance, not bad, but….

The official numbers for the second Grand Prix of the Americas were not bad at all. New F1 venues usually suffer a 2nd year dip in attendees after the hype of the inaugural race is over.

Austin boasted 265,000 clicks on the turnstiles in 2012, and the initial countup from this weekend is that number was down to just over 250,000. Friday saw 58,276 fans turn out and Saturday had expected increase to 78,886 wit the race day just around 5,000 down on 2012 at 113,162.

There were differences though under the surface. Aerial TV shots showed certain grandstands with significant spare capacity which was not evident in 2012. One reason for this is that in 2013  1 day general admission tickets were for sale which did not provide a grandstand seat. In 2012, all the tickets were a three-day weekend passes and provided for grandstand seating.

On the downside, reports from Austin suggest thousands of GA tickets were sold at a discounted rate late on the Saturday, with the intention of attracting some of the 100,000 visiting fans for the state college football team. The Longhorns were soundly thrashed the day before the F1 race 38-13 and it could be some drunken supporters decided to drown their sorrows in the sun on Sunday at COTA.

There are estimates that 40% of the crowd were Mexican fans, with most of those travelling from outside the USA. Whilst it is unlikely it will make the final 2014 F1 calendar, should the Mexican GP be revived it could be a large number of these attendees no longer come to watch F1 in Texas.

The fan fest concerts appeared to have fewer fans in attendance than in 2012, and these saw numbers from 2-4,000 when 12,000 were expected.

In May this year, a 67-page report was produced looking at how Austin fared from the 2012 F1 Grand Prix weekend. Hotels took 3 times the amount than during a Longhorns game weekend and global publicity was valued at $191.0m – probably by FOM.

Though little other information was really forthcoming and ‘lessons learned’ included a need to find ways to get F1 fans to spend more, it won’t be clear for some time whether shop-keepers report an actual benefit this year – or the same disappointment that was predominant in 2012.

COTA received $30m from the state comptroller last year, and it will take some weeks before the preliminary tax calculations can be done to work out this year’s disbursement.

So the initial impressions from year 2 are that COTA has a better chance than some other new F1 venues of making a longer term success of F1, though the reduced profits from cheaper tickets will reduce the return for the circuit’s owners.

Let’s be clear too. At around $450m cost to build the circuit; COTA will never make an appropriate profit for Red McCoombs and his mate.


F1 Strategy Group must decide future of tyres

David Ward’s solution to the regular paralysis we see in F1, was to appoint a chief executive at the FIA to run Formula 1. Now he is disbarred from running, who knows if this will ever happen.

It is therefore down to the undemocratic, but newly composed Quango – the Strategy Group – to sort out the F1 2014 tyre mess. The first matter requiring resolution is the ratification of the F1 tyre supplier for 2014.

It is surely way too late for anyone other than Pirelli to be given that responsibility, though they are now holding out for a 3 year contract.

The next matter for the Strategy Group on the tyre agenda, is what kind of tyres do F1 require?

Whether Pirelli conspired to deliver a one stop race for Austin or whether it was a happy co-incidence, the issue of what kind of F1 races do the sport’s participants want has to be top of the agenda. In just 71 days, the first V6 Turbo F1 engine will fire up in Jerez for its first shakedown and nobody has a clue what kind of rubber should be designed to complement the new powertrains.

Pirelli are making it clear that if they are given no steer on this matter they are not prepared to volunteer to take the kind of flak they received in 2013. A desperate sounding Paul Hembery almost begs, “We just want to be told what to do. We want a clear input and it clearly defined, because the characteristic [of criticism] this year is that people have maybe forgotten what we were asked to do”.

The Pirelli brief was in fact clear previously. They were tasked with delivering 2-3 pit stop races by providing tyres that would degrade accordingly. However, the furore of 2013 forces Hembery to remind everyone, “That has got lost somewhere in the passage of time, and that is the important thing that we want to make sure is resolved. Somebody needs to tell us what they want to do.”

If the ridiculous state of silence continues Hembery is clear what Pirelli’s response will be. “I guess what will happen is that we will take a very cautious approach and we will end up with one stop [races] after this year”.

The bitching among F1 fans is not necessarily about the number of stops ideal within a race, it is because they hate to see drivers spending extended periods of time nursing their cars to eek out extra laps to save the added delay of a pit stop.

Pirelli designed performance of the tyres to eventually fall of ‘the cliff’ to reduce this ‘tyre nurturing’, but it has merely led to an extended guessing game now being played by analysts to work out how to avoid the cliff and extend tyre life.

Were Pirelli to make bullet proof tyres, then the idea of a mandatory 2 stop race for 2014 has been suggested. The reality of this would in all probability solve nothing as all the cars would end up stopping within 1 lap of each other as they covered off their nearest rivals strategy calls.

Mechanical and engine reliability is hoped to bring some uncertainty in 2014, though if the regulations allow what they do at present we may see teams doing as Red Bull has done at the past 3 races. They have sought permission to break Vettel’s gear box seals due to ‘concern’ over potential damage. Parts have then been replaced and renewed accordingly and the gear box re-sealed for qualifying session.

There are no easy answers, but the current paralysis is absurd and requires someone to take leadership on the matter and agree a way forward.


CVC will fire Ecclestone for a criminal offence

CVC co-founder Donald Mackenzie tells the High Court in London, “If it is proven that Mr Ecclestone has done anything that is criminally wrong, we would fire him.”

Mackenzie recalls a meeting in February 2011 with Ecclestone where he finally admits to the Gribkowsky payment. “He [Ecclestone] told me that he had had a meeting with one of his colleagues who had reminded him that he had made payments to Gribkowsky and he apologized for having forgotten this.

He told me he had never lied to me and I must say that I had trouble believing you could forget payment of $40 million.”

Could it be the long knives are out for Ecclestone. The clear inference from MacKenzie suggests Ecclestone was lying to him previously.

Ecclestone claimed last week that the High Court case was not attracting adverse attention yet MacKenzie disagrees, admitting that F1 is “a successful investment apart from the adverse publicity and this is a good example of it.”

Ecclestone is accused of selling F1 for less than it was worth to CVC and depriving the applicant in this case from an incremental $100m in return.

Ecclestone is safe to continue running F1 regardless of the result of this case. This is a civil matter and even should he lose, CVC won’t sack him as the trial doesn’t prove, “that Mr Ecclestone has done anything that is criminally wrong.”

That said, Mackenzie’s evidence today does nothing for Ecclestone in terms of a character reference and it does CVC no harm to distance themselves from their deal making ‘agent’ and chief executive of their investment – should it be declared by a court that Ecclestone was indeed ‘dodgy’.


Webber’s incriminating evidence

We recently ran a piece in F1 Forensics which questioned, “Are Red Bull illegally ‘mass damping'”

Matt Somers sends us this evidence from Webber’s pit stop this weekend which he believes in light of the above article is “compelling”  when re-examining the ‘splitter flex’ theory.


Hulkenberg sceptical as the midfield driver pieces fall into place.

Eric Boullier tells AMuS, “Grosjean and Hulkenberg would be one of the best driver duo’s in Formula One, and also financially very attractive.” It seemed the obvious choice when Kimi left for Ferrari, though the persistent delays in the arrival of Quantum’s investment has almost scuppered the opportunity.

The fact the conclusion of the investment has dragged on for so long means Nico Hulkenberg is no longer convinced it will happen. Mansoor Ijaz has even intervened with the Hulk in person, though it appears this carries no weight with the young German who when asked whether he had been persuaded shrugged and told reporters, “He told me the same as everybody else.”

Boullier still clings to the latest promise from Ijaz that the deal will be done ‘within the week’ and admits it would be “fantastic reward for the whole team to know in Interlagos that the future is secure beyond the next 2 years”.

On the other hand, the Lotus boss is philosophical that they may already have lost Hulkenberg. “He had a bad experience at Williams and doesn’t want to be in the same situation again. So you couldn’t blame him if he signs somewhere else. It would just mean the timing was not right for him or for us.” 

Martin Brundle claimed some weeks ago that the Hulkenberg signature was on a contract for 2014 and a done deal – it must be catching. He admitted this weekend he at the time thought this to be Force India, admitting this on air and obviously no longer concerned over the confidence he had kept which in time had been proven untrue.

Monisha Kaltenborn also pitched in for Hulkenberg’s services, stating there was a seat for him in the Sauber team for 2014 should he want it. When asked about this, Nico seemed surprised but responded with a beam, “That’s good news, isn’t it.”

Pressed on whether he would be interested in a second year at Sauber, Hulkenberg replied pragmatically. “I want to be in Formula 1 at first and then after we have to see. I want to get a car that’s able to do what we’re doing now basically to well in the points and I wouldn’t mind to be on the podium every now and then. But certainly Sauber is one of the possible options.”

If we dismiss for now the smaller teams, the driver conundrum is becoming fairly simple. The word is Sutil has a deal at Force India for 2014. Hulkenberg will get a drive whether at Lotus, Force India or Sauber, as should Maldonado and Perez with the cash they have to bring from sponsors.

This leaves Paul Di Resta out in the cold. He has been sweetness and light recently, but his tetchy attitude with the team earlier this year, the bust up his ex-forces personal trainer had in the pit garage during the summer and his run of silly errors following the summer break, prior to India appear to have meant the Silverstone team are calling time on his F1 career.


56 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 18th November 2013

  1. Ah TheJudge13, i really find all this time very strange especially knowing that what that guy says about transfer of cash / regulations etc… that is strictly not true… today we can transfer greater amounts of cash with less troubles and hundred times quicker than before….
    I remember back in June when Ijaz said: “We’ll be number one in 12 months. I say it simply, flatly, completely – we’ll be number one in 12 months.
    The guy continues and says ‘we have enormous technological capabilities that we can bring’
    That also made me smile… is that these technological capabilities that are taking so much time to make a simple bank transfer…
    In some time, Eric will not have a single Mega ice cream in the fridge

    • Bryan – you clearly don’t know nothing about banking regulations and compliance requirements and laws surrounding this. Daily banking for average joe might be simplier and faster than ever. But this has nothing to do with corporate transfers, especially with sums of such calibre.
      Of course – money transfer doesn’t take from june to december but still takes much much more time than private persons couple of hundred thousand’s…
      And “middle east” is very correct term for trouble in intl money world…
      Don’t get me wrong – all this together doesnt make them inifinityquantum less amateurish and stupid than they already are starting with name “infinity…”

  2. Do you really think the first comments about ‘sabotage’ from Pastor was true or is it media related wrong translation ?
    If that is true, i can understand why this would have been have an iceing effect on any team principal 🙂

    • He did not use the word sabotage. He just said someone of the team had,in his opinion, on purpose given him the wrong tire pressures. I thought this was unprofessional. And people can say it’s the south American temprament but perez had a much harder breakup with his team and managed to be an excellent adult and professional in his interviews even though they tried to force him to say some bad things. After reading everywhere that perez was arrogant and hard to work with that stunned me a bit.

      • bruznic, he didn’t say that, exactly, either. he said “temperature” and “pressure” but w/o saying “wrong”. Here was exactly what he said:

        “It was quite a hard beginning of the weekend. Yesterday, even this morning, in quali even worse. I think I never got the hundred percent form the tyres.”

        “I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressure, temperature, is not that clear. But, yeah, one more race to go so, great.”

        “It’s difficult to say. I think you need to ask the team, to the guys who are working in the car. It’s quite clear.”

  3. ” …. Quantum Motorsports is now the new proud front for the middle eastern money from the Sultan of Brunei. ….. ”

    Brunei considered to be in Middle East?

    • I think it probably is, as the ruling elite are from there, if I’m not mistaken. As the judge recently said, sharia law was recently introduced.. Remember Britain previously established Singapore and Hong Kong in the region as well, with Portugal having Macau. I think this was a similar sort of outpost in the past, from Islam? Islam is also present in Malaysia and Indonesia as the state religion.

    • Mansoor Ijaz claimed the money was being routed through the Middle East for some reason – though the Sultan of Brunei is still reported to be behind the deal….

      • Brunei is bordered by Malaysia, not the Philippines.

        The Quantum story is 60% Brunei money, 20% US money (Ijaz), 20% Middle Eastern money (Suhail Al Dhaheri, CEO of Al Manhal of Abu Dhabi).

        Mexico is a North American country.

        • I’ve yet to see any real confirmation that anyone from Brunei is involved, or indeed any hints from reputable sources that say they are, its a common thread amongst Mr Ijaz’s fantasies that these deals he has are backed by “a wealthy Indian family that i cannot name” or “a group with royal family connections whom i will not name”.
          2 weeks ago he claimed that the money was through saying “We did everything we could. We moved this way, they blocked; we moved that way, they blocked; we moved that way, and finally we got it through.”
          Now 2 weeks further on and it turns out that they didn’t “get it though”, but they will by next week, so why claim they had ?.
          The man seems a pathological liar.

          • Well spotted regarding Brunei…

            I’ve not seen anyone write-up the clever choice of having Brunei royal money as the majority partner.

            As you and the Judge point out, Infinity / Quantum has been all talk and no money from day one. A quick analysis of the two minority partners reveals problems. And a bit of analysis of Mr. Ijaz’ claims of Quantum bringing innovative technologies to F1 reveals problems.

            But the big money comes from a very opaque, secretive, and mysterious entity, the royal family of Brunei.

            If Mr. Ijaz is fabricating the capabilities of Quantum, his choice of the royal family of Brunei as providing 60% of the total money is very, very clever on his part. It is almost impossible for anyone (professional or amateur) to verify whether or not that claim is true.

            Claiming to have bags of money from the royal family of Brunei behind him also gives him the liberty of later claiming that the Brunei royals got cold feet and have backed out, since no-one will likely be able to verify whether or not that is true.

            Given that some folks with experience in large financial transactions rubbish his repeated claims about the unexpected delays, I was surprised that he showed up in the paddock in Austin. I am not yet able to see the end-game outcomes for him that he apparently envisions.

            But at the end of the day, it’s not about Quantum, is it?

            This is all about our bar-fighting young friends at Genii. These two gentlemen have the resources to have done much better research on Infinity / Quantum than a bunch of amateur F1 fans. Genii made their choice some time ago to spin out the story that the future of Lotus hinges upon this deal with Quantum. While Infinity / Quantum did strange things for weeks, Genii continually stuck to this story. If we assume that Genii is intelligent, then what was Genii’s end-goal of spinning this story the way they did? Was it to just shed a driver they could never afford in the first place in the least expensive way? Was it to entice sponsors by showing how they have quality partners (pardon my sarcasm)? Or perhaps they’re silly playboys in way over their heads, who have but a few more millions to burn off before they close up this shop and move on to their next adventures…

          • … Many good points VM

            …Just for the record… I never said it was clever to have Brunei money…. Ijaz leaked this information early doors, but is not on record anywhere authoritative as having said so….

            Adam Cooper was one of the few to run with the Brunei speculation as to what it may mean.. though is careful to state, “Not much is known at this stage about the Brunei connection”…


          • @Magneto, agreed and from past activities involving said Sultan, he’s well able to speak for himself, so does.

  4. Regarding the Quantum / Lotus situation, am I the only one who thinks that regardless of what their budget is for next year, the amount of key staff that have left recently (besides from Allison at least 3 of their CFD team have gone or are on gardening leave) means they are unlikely to field a competitive car anyway?

    I just have this feeling that Lotus are likely to be leap-frogged by several teams next year, so personally, at the moment, I’m rather pleased that Hulkenberg looks like he wont be going there, as I believe Sauber or FI are safer bets, even with their own money troubles.

  5. Amazed that Sir Frank didn’t fire the arrogant git on the spot… Or perhaps we won’t see him in Brazil 🙂

    • … at $1.5m per race… Sir Frank is being pragmatic maybe….

      …the punishment will be just 2 cylinders in Brazil instead of the 4 he had here in Austin….

      • I cannot even begin to describe (mostly as my comments will be deleted) just how much despise this self-righteous, arrogant little
        $h!te…. does he really think that one of the most successful, noble and honourable teams would actually tamper with his car, and jeopardise his and other drivers safety….?
        For what end, just to prove him as the crap driver he actually is?
        I doubt it, not after they are still scarred by Senna’s death, and that was nearly 20 years ago

        He really doesn’t deserve to be driving even go-karts

        • they [Williams] killed Senna (albeit unintentionally), so… (your naive faith in the absolute integrity of Williams as if they’re somehow, magically organizationally-different from every other entity comprised of ambitious and competitive human beings is touching…)

  6. Interestingly, quantum physics deals with the basic actions of matter and the smallest units of energy. In quantum physics, a particle can have two states at the same time, but when the particle is examined it collapses to a single state. Sounds like an apt description for Quantum Motorsports. As Firesign Theater said, ‘How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all?’

    • Actually, it can be anything from one up to an Infiniti of states, depending on your observable and your system 🙂

      Another quite interesting point from QM is the fact that you cannot speak about ‘observer’ and ‘observed’, but can only make meaningful statements about a system-as-a-whole.

      The reason I find it interesting viz. F1 is that the parallel provides an easy answer to the is-it-the-car-or-is-it-the-driver discussions. The moment you stop thinking about (e.g.,) Vettel and/or Red Bull, but regard it as Vettel IN a Red Bull you get a Quantum-mechanically justified way out of the conundrum.

      Admittedly, it’s quite an open door, but maybe helps coax the collapse of the state factor in a never-ending discussion 🙂

      (Apologies for the lame puns)

      • Yeah, I was trying to keep it simple. That’s why quantum computing is an interesting concept – all the possible solutions exist at the same time, but when collapsed there is the answer. I also find it helpful when looking at a problem to analyze the question at both infinity and zero; the answer will lie in between. That’s my sort-of-calculus outlook.

        • I’m looking forward to the not-so-far future when we reach the limits of how far we can shrink silicon – when commercial computing starts to see money in stimulating science to further develop (and make marketable) quantum computing, I think we’re in for a very exciting time.

          I wonder how that will influence F1 development – it always being on the forefront of applied science and technology, it must be a dream for the teams’ IT departments to have quantum computing available in a truly usable way.

          Having said that, they’ll probably still be outsmarted by Adrian Newey and his pencil-and-paper 🙂

          Good point about finding a midway between two extremes. The most useful answers are rarely simple and in most cases involve taking several (seemingly) conflicting approaches into account.

  7. I find Whitmarsh’s conduct increasingly bewildering and annoying as I did when Lewis was there. After the race he described Button’s drive as excellent and Sergio’s as solid??? Sergio bought home six times as many points as Button, after qualifying a strong 7th, Button meanwhile qualified badly, made a rookie error with the red flag then hit someone……which he’s done quite a lot lately, along with being out qualified regularly. He describes Button’s feedback as PEERLESS, yet Button frequently can’t find grip, balance or set up. Im beginning to wonder what it is that makes Whitmarsh look at Button in such a besotted way through such rose tinted glasses. And the treatment of Perez was very poor.

  8. re ‘compelling evidence’:
    So some hobby creator of animated gifs managed to spot something that the FIA’s technical staff and 10 competitors managed to miss for an entire year? Yeah, right …

    • …its good some things in life are predictable DS – otherwise imagine what the world would be like…

      ..you hit your finger with an uber sharp knife and expect to slice it off – but no!!! – the knife turns to rubber…. 😉

    • A little harsh Danilo? but I’ll bite, I mentioned the flex on twitter whilst the pitstop took place as it was clear to see. The FIA stewards are only able to test what is prescribed and what is happening with the Splitter stay isn’t covered specifically by the deflection test. (Yet another work around by RBR)

      The questions in regard to RBR’s splitter started getting raised around Hungary by the teams (more specifically FI) this is when Gary Anderson cottoned on (through his FI connections) and the FIA requested the heated test. (The FIA had to request RBR’s permission to conduct that test)

      The problem is that although the Splitter is receiving heat etc that’s not the primary problem with the whole area.

      Having already got it wrong once and with egg on their face I’m not so sure FI/GA/FIA will be so keen to attempt another test unless they are certain how it works…

      Lastly and something that I’m not sure everyone is aware of but the FIA don’t test every car post GP, instead randomly selecting cars. This means that from a legality point of view although you’d get caught out eventually if you did wear the plank more than 1mm for arguments sake, if your car isn’t tested you won’t get caught…

      • …Matt

        I keep telling the TJ13 readers, F1 regulations are ‘enforced’ by known tests.

        Then, if the teams believe the tests will not find out they have bent/broken the reg’s they’ll “push the limits” as Ferrari described it last winter….

      • @Matt Somerfield,Brilliant observation..You could have tried a hand at the FIA president’s post…. 🙂

      • Matt I enjoy your blog and it’s great to see you comment here too. The more mainstream sites seem too worried about upsetting the powers that be by being to controversial on their opinions. I love the freedom that there is on reporting on TJ13 and SomersF1. I don’t really care for the main stream stories that sky have already flogged to death over race weekends.

        The revolution is here!

      • Expect harsh from me, Matt. I’m the world’s most useless diplomat. My criticism is not directed towards you personally. I just find it preposterous that people think they do the job better than people in the business.
        Remember last year’s Brazilian Grandprix, when people where hell-bent on proving that Vettel overtook under yellow flags and managed to miss a a marshal waving a huge honking green one? RB & Vettel have now won 8 races in a row, that means their car has been scruitinized 8 times in a row, too. Do you really believe that teams like Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes would miss something as obvious as your little animation suggests?
        There are three major fanbases (ALO,HAM,RAI) that are monumentally frustrated, because their boys keep getting bitch-slapped into the middle of next week by a very good driver, who happens to be assigned to driving the best car in town, so such conspiracy theories perfectly fit to satisfy their urge to have an angry wank over it. It just doesn’t hold water in real life.

        • @Danilo
          I totally agree that in most circumstances that everyone is hell bent on ‘proving’ that a given driver/team is breaking the rules. I myself debunked the yellow/green flag situation last season after receiving ‘that’ video post race: http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-deconstruction-of-brazilian-gp-from.html?m=1
          The biggest problem for someone like me who is more a less a detective is the restrictive nature of FOM (something I’m working on) and how they limit the availability of footage.
          I could have solved the Interlagos debacle in mins with access to the right footage etc…
          Returning back to the Red Bull Splitter scenario although the team are better in many facets than their opponents and they clearly have the best exhaust solution (helped in part by their opponents and the FIAs torque map rulings from Hockenheim) they are in terms of raw pace (tanked) around a second a lap quicker than the rest of the field…
          As for other teams not catching on, they have been playing catchup now for 5 seasons and in honesty gave up on this season after the change in tyre construction which has helped RBR in many ways. Furthermore when a team comes up with something it can’t always be copied easily as you have to understand the principles behind it.. How long did Renault run the original Mass Damper before everyone else caught on…

          • The thing is rather simple. There are certain tests performed by FIA. If the car passes them, it is legal. Remember the wing flexing tests, where RB and McLaren were found to be flexing more in the race? The tests didn’t find it. Was the car illegal? No. All the tests for legality were passed. That’s F1 in a nutshell. FIA sets rules, Engineers try to loophole them. Sometimes FIA wins, sometimes the guys with the spanners and the pencils.

            As for the other teams playing catch up since 2009. Sorry, my sympathy is limited. Ferrari was on equal footing in 2010 – they blew the strategy in the decisive race. McLaren was arguably equal if not better than the Red Bull in 2012, but they blew it on pitstop blunders and atrocious lack of reliability. The 2013 Red Bull is basically a long-term evolution of the 2009 one. Ferrari and McLaren have started from scratch at least twice in that time. Mclaren had a winning car in 2012 and inecplicably shelved it, That’s just idiocy. It’s not that RB is magically so much better than anyone else, it’s that everyone else is falling over themselves to find new ways to muck up.
            If people talk about ‘4 years of dominance’, they forgot that 2010 and 2012 were decided by single digit point differences, even with the current Waldorff school point system.

            BTW RB isn’t a second a lap quicker than the opposition either. Mark Webber can hardly keep up with a Lotus. They have excellent one-lap pace as that’s what their car has always been optimized for, but making it work in the race is down to the driver and actually quite a tricky task. Until Spa the RB’s were woefully slow in the topspeed departement, only recently they found a solution to run a full downforce setup and still match the others in topspeed. As recently as Singapore the RB’s were the slowest on the straights.

          • If you know something and can’t prove it, it’s as useless as a one-legged guy at an arse-kicking contest, so just shelve it. Come up with something substantial or eff the Eff off…

        • It’s 2.30 here and I have just regained consciousness!
          I’m still struggling to believe Danilo called ‘his’ Sebastian, “a very good driver” driving the best car in town….

          • You’re not very funny, Carlo. 😉 Maybe you regained consciousness prematurely? 😛

  9. @Judje,Why doesn’t Hulk stay at Sauber next year too??Force India wont be too much of an improvement from Sauber…Besides,when Alonso is seriously looking for a Mclaren deal in 2015,what harm does it cause to Hulk in staying with Sauber,a Ferrari engine partner??He could get a seat in Ferrari in 2015 alongside Kimi..

    • .. Not sure he’s had long to consider it.. he seemed surprised when it was mentioned…

      It’s not a bad idea, though if we believe all the hype over the 2014 Mercedes engines – FI would be a better bet…which doesn’t prevent him being Ferrari bound in 2015.

      • Judge, if Vettel shows some interest in jumping into that Ferrari seat alongside Kimi, when Newey leaves for boat design, and teflonso leaves for McLaren, Hulk won’t even get the courtesy SMS that he got this time.

  10. Poor old Di Resta, hardly a surprise though for if anyone was ever in need of a personality transplant it was he. Then he gives out shit in public about his team, then he smacks it 3 races in a row afterwards. He still looks like a bowl is used by his Mam to cut his hair and what in a gods name is with the manly jeans he insists on wearing. Sorry but F1 is more than about being a fast driver these days and this is where the poor guy is lost. Too bad I say….too late also.

    • NBC speculated – wildly, by their own admission – during the race broadcast that he might get his cousin’s seat at Ganassi next year.

  11. Lotus need not worry. Their troubles will go away ‘this week’. When you listen to this Mansoor guy, you wonder why they want to spend so much money on Lotus or why they want to be in F1. I smell something fishy.

  12. quantum maybe talking up hulkenberg, but i think they (and maybe geni may be salivating at the thought of pastor madnutter and his bag of swag (if he gets it out of venuzuala)

    • Can’t help but think, the funniest outcome would be if Maldonado signs the contract with Ijaz for the Lotus seat, who then promptly swindles him and runs off with the £30m. Maldonado is then out of F1 and Di Resta saved at FI (yet again!).

      But seriously, Sutil looked down and out after the race, like he was seriously contemplating moving on to something else. Di Resta was positively chirpy by his standards and has been since getting 6th in India. My gut tells me it is he that has been hired…. but stranger things have happened. Maybe he has IndyCar in his pocket, whereas Sutil is thinking, Geez, I might have to work with that guy (Pastor) next year… 😀

      • hmm, except it would be PDVSA signing the contract w/ Lopez, so unless Ijaz somehow gained control of the company’s accounts (which might not be implausible since he’s a bank fraudster), Maldonado should be fine. But funny speculation nonetheless.

        Sutil always looks down, imo.

  13. Re: Redbull mass damper – I just think its a thing of beauty. They got the job done while being legal to the word of the law. Its not how much money you throw at a problem (i.e. Ferrari), but how intelligent and intuitive your employees are (Redbull).

  14. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the Texas race’s attendance being down just over 5% this year. I would attribute that to (a) the championship already having been decided, and (b) the learned among us knowing that the tire choices for the race promised a snorefest.
    I’d be surprised if the year-on-year tv ratings didn’t back up my theory… Anyone have access to those?

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