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Lotus gone very quiet
Whilst the rest of the F1 teams are engaging in season reviews, prize give aways and general festive fun with their twitter and social media followers, Lotus have gone very quiet. The team that likes to present in social media as a bit risque.. out there… and cool…. are at present silent.
The last utterance was 8 days ago when Lotus fans were promised, “Our 2013 tour may be done & dusted [sad face] but we’ve got plenty of festive #F1 goodness on the way to brush away those off-season blues!”
8 days??? From a PR team who can’t hold their own water for 10 minutes?
Err… chaps and chapesses of Enstone, there’s only a couple of weeks before Santa comes – where are you????
Gerard Lopez has a big job on his hands to persuade the Genii investors to keep the faith even though the big hope of a return on their investment from Quantum Motorsports has gone west. Failure to pay to the rank and file workers their November pay which amounts to less than $1m demonstrates the problems the team have.
There has been a freeze on further cash advances from the Genii investors for several months and Maldonado’s cash has strings attached – ie that it does not pay current debts. It makes no sense for Lotus to fail to make the grid for 2014, as the Genii investors will get cents on the dollar as a return for their investment, though it will take time for this disparate group of people to be individually persuaded that further cash advances is the only sensible option.
That said, venture capital fund investors know full well, for every 3 fund investments, just 1 delivers a return and on the other 2 they lose their shirts – so these people are used to coming to a view when to cut their losses and run. This is most likely the reason Sauber are silent on their driver lineup, because it could be the case that ‘Crashtor’ and his gazillions may yet come their way.
Double points poll
FIA invite critique
The FIA issued a tweet late on Monday inviting comment on the new 2014 regulation proposals. “For those who have not read the bio for this account, please address any complaints about 2014 F1 regulation changes to @FIA“
I’m not sure which parallel universe I’m living in. The one that has given Jean Todt executive powers on most regulations, or the one that is awarding joker double points for certain races.
the social media response has been unanimous against double points for the last race, and TJ13 recommends you do make your voice heard. However, as the previous article suggests we as F1 fans have been lethargic over cost control and are about to suffer a raft of silly regulations such as double points races unless the competitive playing field is leveled.
So complain to the FIA as they invite, but don’t just bitch about double points – its time for F1 fans to unite over cost control. A sustainable F1 stops the powers that be chasing every last dollar and giving away control of our sport to those who contribute the most – the TV pay masters.
By the way. many TJ13 readers are not fond of ‘new media’. This is fair enough, but when the FIA invite comment via new media – its time to speak!!!!!!
The Fat Hippo’s Rant: Why a cost cap doesn’t work
One thing that his Honour is endlessly harping on about, is cost control and levelling the competitive playing field. What the man in the black robe completely ignores in that endeavour, is that Formula 1 isn’t Waldorff school, where the clever kid gets hobbled, so that the feeble one can keep up without feeling bad about himself. There are no consolation prizes in Formula One and hopefully never will be.
About a week ago, Auto Motor & Sport‘s Michael Schmidt published an article, which claims that Red Bull’s 2012 titles came at a price of 278.4 million Euros. While those numbers would still be relatively tame in comparison to what teams threw at it in the early and mid 90s, it would mean the Austrians would’ve probably spent more than Caterham and Marussia did since their entry into the sport and if the man with the gavel is about to be believed, FIA should step in and put an end to such decadence, so that the other teams get a shot at winning, too.
Except, that it is all just hogwash and wishful thinking. When it comes to ridiculous spending, nobody in the last 15 years comes close to Toyota and we all know how many titles they got for all their big bucks. They had the biggest budget by a mile, a windtunnel so state-of-the-art it is still in use today and all they got for it were 12 podium positions in eight seasons and a grand total of diddly squat as far as wins are concerned.
The sheer futility of a Politbüro administered cost control becomes obvious if you look at how Michael Schmidt arrived at the conclusion that Red Bull spent almost 300 million quid in 2012. Although running on an Austrian license, most of Red Bulls operations are in Blighty, which has the positive side effect that one can look into their business balance at the Companies House in her Majesty’s Capitol. According to those numbers Red Bull Racing spent 211 million euros in 2012, made a profit of 840.000 Euros and employs 55 people. Say what? Marussia’s got more people than that!
You see, people like Adrian Newey and his staff aren’t actually working for Red Bull Racing. They are employed by a sister company called Red Bull Technology, which employs 658 people, which in wages alone cost 69.7 million funny € things in 2012. The overall spending of Red Bull Technology was the ominous 278.4 million with a profit of 5.5 million Euros. Now after you’ve washed the coffee that you just ejected through your nose off the monitor, let’s have a look at what these numbers mean.
Did Red Bull really spend 490 million quid in 2012? No they didn’t. The design, development and manufacturing of the cars by Red Bull Technology incurs a cost of X million quid and Red Bull racing pays them those X million quid plus perhaps a (very mild) extra charge, so the costs of building two functioning racing cars appear twice in those numbers. Also, whenever Seb Vettel hops into the simulator to adjust his driving style for the next race, Red Bull Racing will have to foot the bill, as the costs are incurred at Red Bull Technology, who own and run the simulators – another item that effectively appears in the numbers twice.
The next thing is, that Red Bull Technology does not work for Red Bull Racing exclusively. They produce gearboxes and KERS for Caterham, provide simulator time for Toro Rosso and developed the standard side crash structures for FIA. They don’t even work for Formula One exclusively. When Felix Baumgartner parachuted out of a balloon capsule at 39km altitude in October 2012, Red Bull’s involvement didn’t end at providing sponsor stickers. Red Bull Technology was involved in developing said capsule, so some of those 278 million were spent on things that had nothing to do with F1 at all. The development (without manufacturing) of the Red Bull RB8 cars cost 90.8 million Euros according to the numbers. That sounds quite a bit different from 278.4 million.
So as you can see, it’s all just a horrible mess of company-to-company business. How are FIA, who can’t regulate their way out of a paper bag, supposed to control the amount of money being bandied about? And it’s not just Red Bull either. According to the numbers in Blighty, Mercedes employs 612 people on a budget of 181 million Euros (only the team without engine department) and Woking burned 208 million Euros on development and building their 2012 challenger.
What about Ferrari? No idea. Since they are based in Italy, which doesn’t have a law that forces companies to publish their numbers, their numbers are secret and more likely than not close to or even higher than the Red Bull figures and – as we learned earlier that year – spread out over different companies, too. The ‘secret’ tyre tests at Bahrain and Barcelona at the begin of the season were run in 2011 cars, which were run by Corse Clienti, not the Scuderia itself for instance, so those costs are likely to be in Ferraris numbers twice, just like simulator costs at Red Bull.
Unless FIA thinks they can do what whole states have failed at – keeping track of money flow in big corporations – there is not a cat’s chance in hell to implement any sort of practical cost control measures. And there shouldn’t be. Formula One should be an all-out dog-eat-dog technological slug-fest. I want to return to the time when Mercedes built the best engines by using obscenely expensive Romulan alloys. F1 isn’t a welfare state. If you can’t pay the bills – don’t let the door hit you in the backside on your way out. And if we only have two or three teams left, unable to field a complete grid, then F1 doesn’t deserve to exist. No F1 is preferrable to the NASCAR-esque farce we’ve seen lately.
Le Sigh. Hippo out