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Donuts permanently on the menu now?
When he performed donuts on the start-finish straight after winning the Indian GP, which sealed the 2013 drivers title, Sebastian Vettel helped himself to a reprimand and Red Bull had to pay a 25.000 dollar fine. The ruling of the race stewards, who unlike the fans did not quite appreciate the smokey gesture, said that the punishment came due to failure of returning the car to the parc fermé.
Applying a spot of logic, Vettel concluded that as long as the car ends up in parc fermé donuts shall be fine if done in a safe place and thankfully with all the huge tarmac run-off areas these days there’s enough space for that. And while the German’s application of logic would make a Vulcan proud, he seemed to be somewhat surprised that he got away with it, so he sought confirmation from a kohlinar master… excuse me… FIA president.
Autosport.com reports that Jean Todt himself made it clear that performing donuts is not a punishable offense. The India reprimand was solely down to the fact that the car was left parked on the track, not where it was supposed to be parked – in parc fermé. This means that most likely the donuts are here to stay, but so is the battle of wills with Rocky over the undue strain on the car’s brittle gearbox.
Lotus fails to pay salaries – again
According to Motorsport Total Lotus has failed to pay the salaries of their employees at the end of November. Managing Director Patrick Louis had informed the workforce about a possible delay in payment, but assured them that in a ‘worst case scenario’ the money would be paid at the end of the month.
Was that a snort with a Finnish accent, I heard? Kimi would have probably told them how serious they can take such assurances as the money did not come at the end of the month and the workforce is understandably confused. Matters were not helped by the fact that Eric Boullier and the rest of the upper management was absent on Monday.
While the signing of Pastor Maldonado is expected to bring an infusion of something between 20 and 35 million currency units, it is unlikely to solve Lotus’s problem. First of all PDVSA, the Venezolan oil company that backs Maldonado, has made it clear that the money is not to be used to clear old debts, so it is to be expected that the south american company will keep an eye on what their dough is used for. Secondly, the workforce at Enstone are not the only ones waiting for their due payments. There’s Kimi and a whole host of suppliers, who have not yet been paid as well.
Just like it happened with the first – and as some say only real – incarnation of the team Lotus, they seem to be in dire straights again. With the Quantum deal all but officially called off, the future does indeed not look well. Most thought that Maldonado’s signing again blocked the way for Nico Hülkenberg, but as the German reveals, the option of going Lotus was scratched off his list weeks before Maldonado even became a topic. The financial situation of Lotus convinced him early that going there was not an option.
So far Lotus is the only team that has not yet officially named an engine supplier for 2014. While most expect Renault to supply their power-trains, they are not a charitable organization, so they shall expect to be paid for them. That’s somewhat tricky whit Team Lotus.
Gary Anderson on Red Bull and Pirelli
Former F1 designer turned BBC pundit, Gary Anderson, rubbished the theory that Red Bull’s fourth constructors title and Vettel’s drivers title are solely down to the mid-season return to the 2012 tyre construction, which saw the softer compounds remain, but the steel belt went out in favour of a kevlar belt – as used in the 2012 construction.
While Anderson agrees that the change helped the Austrian team to fully exploit the tremendous downforce generated by their chassis, he points out that Vettel was in a comfortable lead even before Pirelli’s hand was forced by the debacle at Silverstone, when several tyres disintegrated at high speed. After the first eight races, the tally was 4:2:2, four wins for Vettel and two each for Alonso and Rosberg. Anderson insists, that the tyre change was not a Lex Red Bull, but absolutely neccessary for safety reasons after Silverstone.
F1 2014 calendar
Ecclestone!.. “Maestro, genius.. he made F1 what it is… its all because of Bernie… no one else could have…”, is the cry of adulation from the paddock sycophantic club of millionaires.
Utter rubbish. F1 is a disorganised shambles of dog eat dog short termism which in fact makes everyone less wealthy except the International Corporate Gamblers.
It was clear back in May when TJ13’s man on the ground went to look at the state of play in New Jersey that it would be a big ask to turn this desolate Hudson River quayside into “the Monaco of the America’s”. It was an even bigger ask considering everyone was claiming not a dime of public money would be used.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that when Ecclestone was asked about the race this week, he replied, “We are not satisfied it’s going to happen in time, What we’re aiming for is 2015.” The detailed reason for the failure of Ecclestone an his cohorts to give us the race we all want was succinct, it is not happening “for lots and lots and lots of reasons.”
Race promoter, Leo Hindery, is apparently not returning anyone’s calls.
The FIA will publish the so called ‘final’ calendar for 2014 on Wednesday – though as we know Germany this year was only ‘finalised’ 6 weeks before the event took place with the result that the hosting fee was dropped – which will see New Jersey missing along with India and Mexico as Ecclestone has admitted.
Most F1 observers believe South Korea will be dropped for next year, however TJ13 believes Mr. E and FOM recently hardened their stance with the South Jelloa government and intended to extract another $50m of their tax payers funds for one more F1 party weekend in the city of sailors and whores.
Sneak peek at a potential 2014 Red Bull
Craig Scarborough is well know for his tech insights into F1. He illustrates for the likes of Autosport amongst others and this is his latest render for Bild. What do we think?
Di Resta’s week gets worse
It appears that F1 is taking over the High Court in London as one floor above the Constantin v Ecclestone/CVC/et al v hearing the Hamitlon v Di Resta case. In the week where the somewhat dour Scottish driver hears Force India have signed his former team mate to replace him, he is now facing a claim from Anthony Hamilton – father of Mercedes driver Lewis – for wrongful termination of contract and loss of earnings.
Anthony Hamitlon was Di Resta’s manager until he was dismissed in 2012 when DI Resta claimed he had been misled over a multi million pound deal with drinks company ‘Go Fast’. At the time the Scot alleged he agreed to the deal set up in 2011 by Jordan Wise which was worth €5.5 million (£4.3 million) less commission, to his former manager.
Hamilton allegedly claimed it would be beneficial to buy Di Resta’s sports drink rights from Force India so that they could proceed with the deal, telling the 26 year-old they were worth €2 million (£1.56 million).
The deal was never done and several months later Di Resta allegedly questioned the team over the situation at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix. He claims he was informed that the rights were worth only €1 million (£800,000).
At this point, Di Resta decided to terminate his contract with Hamilton.
Sochi better late than never
Today the promoter of the Russian Grand Prix signed an agreement with the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) which states that the RAF will become the Russian Grand Prix sporting organiser for the inaugural event in Sochi next October.
Now the promoter is agreed, the application can be made to the FIA.
This deal resolves a long standing dispute between the both parties over who would be responsible for what when the F1 circus comes to town. Much of the detail was over marshalling.
Oleg Zabara, deputy chief of the Russian GP’s organising committee is proud to announce, “We have signed a contract with the Russian Automobile Federation which reflects the interests of both parties. Sporting organisation is one of key factors for hosting successfully the F1 Russian Grand Prix. Properly trained specialists should participate in the organisation of international motorsport events. We have already created the staff schedule for the Grand Prix.
As the promoter we will provide the full technical support whenever any part of organisation needs it. RAF will provide qualified marshals and together with the FIA they will be responsible for the sporting management of the F1 Russian Grand Prix”.
As always with these things, the other side must present their statement too. Sergey Ivanov, CEO of RAF added: “We all are expecting to have complicated and hard work to prepare for the first F1 Russian Grand Prix in history. As a result of the agreements concluded with the Promoter, RAF will be able to ensure qualified staff at the Event and organise a Grand Prix of a high level.
“Foreign specialists will help us as consultants and trainers; however the majority of the members of the sporting personnel will be Russians.
This will allow us to invite solely Russian marshals in the future for national rounds of the F1 World Championship. I have no doubts that together we will achieve success”.
The application though 4 months late will probably be fine because Jean Todt has been pretty busy recently. TJ13 recommends a pre-dated application, say 1st Aug 2013, – hand delivered with no dated postmark – as this will most likely slip through the regulatory net designed to bring order and timeliness to proceedings.
Don’t quit your day job?
It looks as if Sebastian Vettel is preparing for the time when he will get bored by endlessly winning everything by trying to lay the foundations for a career as a standup comedian. Jean Todt and Red Bull consultant Dr. Helmut Marko join the list of now four people (Kimi and Mansell were the first), who have publically been impersonated by him. A video can be found in the comment section, but unfortunately it is missing the best bit – a 10 second mocking of Jean Todt with Vettel ‘recalling’ in an exaggerated French accent: It’s a stupid thing to do. It’s not good because it was good for the sport, but…. The rest was drowned out by laughter and cheers from the audience. He also recalls an almighty bollocking he received from Dr. Marko after narrowly missing the pole position at the Hungarian GP. Adopting the Austrian’s gramatically atrocious accent he recalls the comments, which have several bleeps in them for foul language. Looks like the good Doctor is not one to mince words.
Esteban Gutierrez did not have had a stellar debut year in F1 scoring just 6 points when compared to Hulkenberg’s 51 and many believe he was in a Sauber seat merely for the cash his sponsors were prepared to pay.
The Mexican’s racing CV does not paint the picture of a driver who was destined for F1 either. He did win the inaugural GP3 championship in 2010 but could only manage 13th and then 3rd in the subsequent years’ GP2 series.
Yet Esteban’s performances in 2013 probably demonstrate that in today’s world of restricted F1 testing, giving any driver who is not an absolute rising star just one a year in F1 is pointless. Gutierrez performances improved towards the end of the year only to demonstrate it takes time to adjust to the world’s premier class prototype racing cars.
However, despite his financial backing and the probability that the young Russian Sirotkin will now be racing in Renault Formula 3.5, Esteban’s future at Sauber appears to be in doubt.
Clearly Telmex were bankrolling Gutierrez as Carlos Slim Jnr stated last November, “We will have talks with the [Sauber] team in the upcoming weeks, but I have no doubt that we will have two Mexican drivers in F1 next year. Should this not be the case, we would have to rethink our F1 involvement.”
So what’s changed? Why has Sauber not confirmed their Mexican driver for 2014? Gutierrez is now familiar with all the circuits and used to driving an F1 car so he should be in a position to deliver improved results on those of 2013.
The answer is – nobody knows – though the possibilities are most likely just 2. Either Telmex have withdrawn financial support for their driver or from Sauber. It appears it may be the latter as Gutierrez has held talks with Cyril Abiteboul this week.
Since the sacking of Kovalainen, Caterham have blatantly recruited pay drivers and the loss of the $14m for 10th place to Marussia means this is unlikely to change. Guido van der Garde and Charles Pic are thought to bring in around $10m each in terms of sponsorship, so if the Mexican is to get a drive in a green goddess in 2014, Telmex will need to up the stakes.
As for Sauber, they have a couple of other Mexican sponsors in Cuervo Tequila and Interprotection Insurance – the Claro brand is part of the Slim investment. It is unlikely these organisations will remain as partners for the Swiss F1 team should Gutierrez leave the team.
Final F1 calendar 2014 – honest
|20-Apr||China||Shanghai International Circuit|
|22-Jun||Austria||Red Bull Ring|
|23-Nov||Abu Dhabi||Yas Marina|
So Korea has in fact been dropped, and that together with the Indian GP ‘sabbatical’ demonstrates F1’s recent failure to deliver stable new venues in the East. Maybe Malaysia, SIngapore, Japan and China are sufficient for the region and fit Ecclestone’s philosophy of keeping F1 a rarer or more exclusive commodity.
Sochi makes it even though their application is winging its way to Paris today.
British fans will again see their Grand Prix compete with one of tennis’ Grand Slam final events – Wimbledon.
As expected New Jersey is absent and the organisers of the Grand Prix of America say that they are “working on restructured financial arrangements for a 2015 race”.
Leo Hindery released this statement. “Our entire management team and our supporters in New Jersey, New York and throughout the Formula One community obviously want to see the inaugural Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial take place as soon as possible. Bringing a world-class race to the world’s largest media market is a huge undertaking that has required balancing construction of our road course, without tapping any public money, with the Sport’s own timing demands.
I want to thank Formula One Management, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Mayors Richard Turner and Felix Roque, Roseland Property Company and the other local property owners involved for their patience while we’ve worked to get this right so that we can finally go racing in 2015″.
Ecclestone wheeled out the founder of the Long Beach Grand Prix, Chris Pook, earlier this year to assist with hurrying matters in New York along. He failed to deliver, but reasons, “This is a very complicated circuit and incredibly important to the overall Formula One program in North America. To get it right in New York will greatly increase awareness of Formula One and motor racing across the continent. I remain very confident about this event.”
Aha. Someone finally agrees with the TJ13 analysis from May regarding the complexity which surrounds the layout of the proposed New Jersey venue.
Bernie is however as
bullshit bullish as ever, asserting with authority, “There is great demand for a race in New Jersey and I have no doubt we’ll be racing at Port Imperial in 2015. New races can take many years to get started, but there is significant momentum and we are close to realising a New York City F1 race.”
FIA Formula E calendar
Its been a busy old day for the FIA delegates in Paris. No time for lunch even, as they rattle through proosed world championship calendars and sign them all off.
Here is the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship calendar
|15/11/2014||BRA||Rio de Janeiro|
|13/12/2014||URG||Punta del Este|
Putting the F1 driver in his place
Many a team boss would admit to at times wishing their driver had a smaller ego and would just do as they’re told. Christian Horner, for instance, would not look like some impotent figurehead puppet who moves and speaks when Herr Helmut’s hands are up his….. were this the case.
In fact, the team management in general couldn’t care less about the blue ribbon trophy that is the drivers’ annual F1 title, for them the team championship is what really matters.
pin the tail on the donkey pin the F1 race date on the country whilst blindfold and drinking copious amounts of vintage red, the FIA delegates had some black coffee and got serious about a number of other matters today.
Whilst TJ13 largely ignores the world of rallying, one rule change for 2014 caught the eye. “In order to allow greater flexibility to contract different drivers, manufacturers will no longer be required to nominate one permanent driver for the season. Instead, manufacturers will be obliged to nominate one driver for a minimum of 10 Championship events”.
This may see the return of ‘specialist drivers’ to rallying – a debate rally lovers will chew the cud on just as F1 lovers will over whether Pirelli should be shot or sanctified.
However, this provokes an interesting thought. Whilst an F1 race seat is a highly scarce commodity, the price a pay driver can deliver could be manipulated and by increasing the availability of seats, teams short of cash could in fact employ 3 or 4 pay drivers a year in rotation and generate total larger revenues.
Further, when Ferrari are hacked off with Fernando, the normative nature of substitute drivers would be less of an insult than at present – so he could be ‘stood down’ until he confesses his sins to Il Padrino and promises to change his ways.
Mmm. Up the team boss revolution?
Quick pic comp
Who, what, where?