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PDVSA, TOTAL and Lotus F1 not such a strange partnership
Friday Lotus F1 announced that they will field Maldonado and Grosjean for the 2014 season. While the drivers market was well and truly in “turmoil” and prior to this announcement TJ13 started an investigation to see how, if it happened, TOTAL and PDVSA could live together at Lotus due to Grosjean being backed by TOTAL.
It appears this will not be the first time TOTAL and PDVSA will be joining forces. In 2008 the two companies joined forces in a strategic association originally called Sincor. The company was then transferred to a Mixed Company setup, under the name of Petrocedeño, where PDVSA holds 60%, TOTAL 30.33% and Statoil 9.67 %. The Petrocedeño agreement has duration of 25 years starting in 2008.
Sincor (now Petrocedeño) was conceived as a project to improve extra-heavy crude oil from the Orinoco Belt area, the greatest accumulation of such resources in the world, and transform it into syncrude of a higher quality than Brent Blend reference crude.
After an investment of $5billion Petrocedeño is the most advanced and largest extra-heavy crude project in Venezuela, and represents the largest single private investment in this sector. This joint venture was not without it’s problems though and the injunctive actions against PDVSA by ExxonMobil in the UK courts caused concern by all parties.
But they made it work and for all the trouble the venture won an award in 2008 as “Best Deal of the Year 2008 – Restructuring”.
Back to Formula 1 and the question is how will this “new love” work for the two oil companies? Will they use the “Petrocedeno” name on the car or keep both TOTAL and PDVSA separate?
Depending on the heavy crude market and the location of the fields in the world TOTAL may want to use their sponsorship to grow their market and showcase their technology. It is 5 years down the line and all the glitches will have been sorted so this could be a very good move for TOTAL and used to acquire more joint ventures.
And who said the business side of Formula 1 was boring!
Alonso appreciates his appreciation
Fernando may be banned from tweeting anything about Ferrari for now, but to be fair until the rubber starts to fly from the tyres in 2014, there’s not a lot for him to say. He does appear to be taking great delight in posting to the world a private note sent to him by Dominecali.
Fernando enthusiastically recognises Stefano’s authority over him and responds…, “Grazie boss..;))) #ForzaFerari”
Brawn to go fishing
In a candid Q&A, Niki Lauda speaks to German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine. He admits his arrival on the scene caused some comment from Brawn.
On Lauda’s first visit to the Brackley following his Stuttgart appointment as chairman of Mercedes AMG F1, Brawn asked him what actually he intended to do and “how often are you going to visit the factory?”
Lauda responded, “Why?…… Probably every day unti I get a feeling for how everything works”. Niki tells of how Brawn attempted to mark out his territory by telling the Austrian there and then he was better operating in a “self sufficient manner without interference from the corporate headquarters in Stuttgart”. Lauda states “within 5 minutes I made it clear” that is not how it was going to continue.
Yet Niki claims he was able to build bridges with Brawn and explained to him that his becoming a link between Stuttgart and Brackley would in fact be to Ross’s advantage stating once Brawn’s “scepticism had passed, he was fully on board with the idea”.
What will Ross Brawn will do next? Lauda claims that both he “and 700 employees” were told by Brawn that he “would like to do other things, that he would like to go fishing and spend time with his family. And he wants to make room for others on the team”. Lauda gives the impression this is what he really hopes Ross Brawn will actually be doing – but is not so sure.
When pressed on whether Brawn at McLaren or Ferrari would be a threat for Mercedes he was candid. “This man has won eight world titles in his career, only Adrian Newey is in this class of engineer. So when Ross takes another job in Formula 1, then I fully respect that – and everyone else will too”.
You get the feeling that Lauda rues Brawn’s leaving and would have given him another year fully in charge with the final say on all matters. To this end he marks the cards of both Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe.
“Toto is responsible for both financial and commercial matters and Paddy takes sole responsibility for technology. Both are equal and this has been made clear to all. With Ross leaving, I will being paying close attention to make sure there is no competence vacuum”.
Ooor errr. Look out boys… Niki’s watching you.
Toto owns 30% of the business; Lowe has no shareholding as far as we know. Lauda declaring them both as equal may not sit quite so well with Wolff as it does with Lowe.
Race of Champions cancelled
The Sports Authority of Thailand and the organisers of the 2013 Race Of Champions have announced that the event cannot take place as planned on December 14-15 due to the current political situation in Bangkok.
The organisers state, “Our thoughts are with the Thai people during this difficult period and we wish that a peaceful solution will soon be found. The Race Of Champions has been held all over the world for 25 consecutive years and we are currently looking at options of repeating the success of last year’s event in Bangkok on another date”.
Fans who have already purchased tickets for this year’s Race Of Champions will be reimbursed.
Earlier this year when Mr. E was floating the idea of an F1 race in Thailand, TJ13 was highly sceptical of the idea and was criticised for taking such a position. In fact an article published on TJ13 was read by a local resident who knew nothing of the planned race route through the centre of the ancient city and past many historic monuments.
Further, the planned route described would have passed within a few metres of a substantial residential area and realising this to be the, the residents case and lodged a protest. Very quickly the city centre route was abandoned and a number of other silly ideas over provincial locations were then floated, all without merit.
The current political unrest in Thailand has probably put pay to the Race of Champions returning in 2014, never mind an F1 weekend.
So who’s next in line to stake a claim for an F1 race???
Pirelli December test for only 3 teams
It appears that the December testing Pirelli requires has been agreen in principle if not unanimously. La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that the Bahrain test, to be held between 17-19 December, will in fact be attended by three teams. Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
Ross Brawn said in Brazil, “It would be unfortunate if one team had the benefit of running a (2014) tyre to the exclusion of all the others.”
This is apparently fine though if 3 teams have the advantage over the others.
Lotus were offered a place at the test, but apparently declined citing financial reasons. This is rather strange since Pirelli were supposed to be paying for the test outright.
McLaren will not be among the select three, and although the data collected will be provided to all the other teams, La Gazetta is reporting teams excluded are unhappy over being locked out of this test and an advantage being handed to Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
Ferrari test V6 Turbo
TJ13 posted links to a video from Fiorino where some kind of ‘mule’ Ferrari was seen testing an engine which is clearly a turbo. The reaction here was mixed, some love the sound and others are not so sure.
However, this is not allowed within the regulations and the powers that be will be notified today. Ferrari’s response will apparently be that they are exploring a particular Turbo technology for use in their road cars as they are examining synergy with their new F1 project. Specifically there may be a turbo version of the California launched in 2014.
Click Link to Saturday’s news where video was published
TJ13 readers vote on mandatory pit stops
Last week we reported the F1 commision will be asked to consider legislating for 2 madatory ture change pit stops in 2014. Further another option may be to limit the maximum stints on each tyre – Prime (50% of race), Option (30%) race.
Willl Buxton was for mandatory stops but other media writers were not so sure – or against them.
Here TJ13 readers can have their say.
Brawn’s possible 2014 retirement in pictures…