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Il Padrino thinks change is the answer
Il Padrino has once again paid the back-handed compliment to Bernie Ecclestone stating he feels change is necessary, but that one man will not be able to replace the F1 supremo when he eventually does step aside.
The Ferrari head honcho feels that F1 should be run by a group of people instead of one person with one vision. The addressed the media at a lunch saying, “I think after Bernie, who is unique, it is necessary to approach a different governance for the sport.
“Bernie is Bernie, with a lot of pluses and even some minuses as all of us.
“I hope for him that he can stay there for a long time, for this is not a today problem. We have to discuss this because at the end of the day this is our business. It is not a question of after Bernie you put a Rob, a Jon, or a Mario – it is a question how to approach it. You have to approach commercial problems, TV rights, and where to race?”
So 10 years too late, it has dawned on Il Padrino that the TV and commercial rights are an issue that needs to be addressed. With the foreseeable future of the sport being controlled by CVC, it begs the question of what can really be done to change the situation if anything?
Di Montezemolo went on to question racing in places where there are hardly any fans turning up to the races, barring the associated press and team personnel. “What kind of relation do we have with the public?”
The short answer to this would be little and none. For example, in Bahrain, the race is merely seen as an opportunity to get their struggles broadcast to the world. Korea has been taken off the map because the mirage of F1 riches failed to materialise in Mokpo.
Returning to Austria is a sensible move, in an area where F1 was once extremely popular and as has been shown by the ticket sales; it is as ever very popular (even if this is largely down to the tickets being so very reasonably priced).
Whether F1 will be a success in Sochi we will have to wait and see. Coming off the back of an Olympic legacy can only help though.
The changing faces of Nico Hulkenberg
They say no matter what you go through, don’t change who you are. It seems Nico Hulkenberg takes this very literally.
Either that, or the wind changed direction when he first pulled this face.
Abiteboul: Cars easier to drive
4 years in to their Formula One life and Caterham are still yet to score a single point in Formula One. Marussia are the same, who pipped Caterham to 10th spot this year as well as HRT who went bust at the end of 2012.
Even though points used to be only awarded to the top 6, which was extended to the top and now top 10, the two team setups share the record for the most team starts without scoring a grand prix point.
Speaking to Autosport, Abiteboul said, “Honestly reliability is something that is just crazy. A few years ago you knew that just through reliability some cars would not finish.”
The Caterham team principal attributes this to changes to cars and circuits meaning retirements are much less likely due to driver error. He comments on the ‘new tracks’ being very forgiving to drivers with their large run off areas.
Not wanting to stir up that debate again I will leave this to your own judgement. One thing that should be noted is the reduction in RPM. Since the cap at 18,000 RPM was introduced, there were many less engine blow outs leading to a much fuller field at the completion of a race. Abiteboul conveniently misses this point when being interviewed.
He then goes on to comment on suspension systems, and uses the example of Giedo van der Garde lowering the rate of mistakes when a more driver-friendly system was brought in.
“We could see how much better and how much easier the car was, and that is the thing that has benefited Giedo. We saw how he was suffering at the start of the season, and we see also that it looks like he has improved as a driver.”
Using a driver as an example who was in his first season was probably not the most concrete bit of evidence for his argument. Van der Garde was always going to improve as he became more used to driving a Formula One car in his rookie season.
If what Abiteboul says is true, then it could be a very even pack next year in terms of driver ability as the drivers get to grips with the higher torque levels that the powertrains will produce. Roll on 2014 then Cyril and let’s hope whoever you choose for your race seats can handle the power of the Renault engine.