Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 17th January 2013

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Time up for Martin Whitmarsh (00:01)

Ecclestone finished (00:01)

Haas an FIA stalking horse? (10:07)

Reader Poll (11:57)

Marko Watch (12:00)

Caterham’s nice little earner (12:05)

Give us your cash and we’ll buy and run an F1 team for you


Time up for Martin Whitmarsh

Back in December, the British prime minister took a trade delegation to China. The party was extensive, flying out by a privately chartered aircraft. On that delegation was a certain Ron Dennis.

TJ13 reported at the time that Dennis had privately intimated during that trip that he intended to once again acquire a controlling stake in the McLaren group. We also reported that Dennis said he would be taking control of the racing team again – though there were those who doubted our sources.

untitledTonight, Ron Dennis has been re-appointed as the CEO of the McLaren. This was a role he voluntarily relinquished in 2012 and Martin Whitmarsh was appointed by agreement between Dennis (25% shareholder) Mumtalakat (50% shareholder) and Mansour Ojjeh (25% shareholder).

There are those reporting tonight that the replacement of Whitmarsh by Dennis is a coup. However, this is not the case. The decision to appoint Whitmarsh had Dennis’ blessing, and TJ13 believes that the decision to re-appoint Dennis was unanimous and unopposed among the shareholders.

With McLaren producing their first supercar since the Gordon Murray designed F1, Dennis felt it was important this should be his sole focus. However, the last of the planned P1’s was sold in December and Ron now believes he is the best person to run the entire McLaren empire.

There was a gathering of the McLaren family in Woking today, as Big Ron spoke for some 20 minutes. In a rousing speech he assured the assembled troops “there will be change” and also that “we will win again”.

“My fellow shareholders have mandated me to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance,” said Dennis. “Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimising every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them.

During February, I will articulate a new Group strategy and implement the organisational structure best suited to achieving it. I am excited by the prospect of returning to the role of Group Chief Executive Officer and working with my many colleagues and fellow shareholders to fulfil our objective – which is to win at whatever we do.”

At the end of his inspiring discourse, Mr. McLaren was received with an extended ovation.

untitledThere was no mention of Whitmarsh during the entire proceedings, and neither was the F1 team principal present. Martin Whitmarsh’s suceeded Dennis as team principal 5 years ago to the day but his remaining time as McLaren team principal is short..

McLaren fans who would love to see big Ron once again upon the pit wall will be disappointed as Ross Brawn will be appointed as F1 team principal over the coming months.

McLaren allowed Paddy Lowe to join Mercedes before his contractual period of garden leave had expired, and they will demand a reciprocal arrangement for Brawn. Should Mercedes refuse, they may well find themselves on the wrong end of a legal dispute – where the precedent for Brawn joining McLaren early will actually be cited to have been set by Mercedes themselves.

The fracture in the relationship between Dennis and Whitmarsh began over a disagreement over Lewis Hamilton. Dennis wanted to allow Hamilton to leave at the end of his contract in 2012 having become exasperated with the McLaren protege’s behaviour.

Dennis is a stickler for how he believes his drivers should behave and famously told the Times following Hamilton’s departure, “You cut yourself, you bleed McLaren. We’re about winning, we care about how we win...We want to win with the right principles, the right values”. 

untitledWhitmarsh argued before the board that the team should retain their only world champion driver for 10 years. There were last minute bids to retain Hamilton, though his advisors had seen the writing was on the wall with Dennis.

Whitmarsh was responsible for the recommendation to appoint Sergio Perez as Lewis’ replacement and declared the deal to be ‘multi year’ as the team honed the young Mexican’s skills.

The influence of Dennis on driver selection remained strong within the board and Whitmarsh’s failure to secure an F1 drive for Kevin Magnussen saw him having to dismiss Perez. His public admission that he had been attempting to secure Sergio another drive clearly indicated he was perturbed with the decision to oust the Mexican.

Whitmarsh demonstrated he was becoming further from the decision making process when he announced the team had decided to delay the announcement of their new title sponsor planned for the 2nd December. When asked whether the new sponsor would be revealed at the launch of the new car, Whitmarsh told SKY, “No. I think it will be a separate one and it will likely be beyond the end of the season because obviously we’re respectful of the partnerships we have at the moment.” Whitmarsh added that he felt the new sponsor deserved an event separate to the car launch

A week later Whitmarsh was forced to do a U-Turn when asked about the 2nd December announcement again. “There will be some new sponsors, but I think probably – and I don’t know because I haven’t talked to our PR function – there will be more of a fanfare at the car launch rather than an announcement on 2 December.”

untitledMartin Whitmarsh is a McLaren ‘lifer’ and loyalty is highly respected by Dennis. So a role will be found for him within the Group should he want it. Though maybe Whitmarsh will decide he’s been there seen it and bought the T-Shirt and its time for some fishing with Ross.

Ah… but Ross may well be unavailable.

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Ecclestone finished

It gets tiresome when the same mantra is presented time and again. Every time Ecclestone says something stupid or forgets that the weekend he is advocating for a revised French Grand Prix is already allocated to Le Mansr, “Without Bernie, we’d all be no where”… “Bernie took us from racing in fields to where we are today”… “Bernie transformed the sport of F1”….

Hogwash.

I’ve heard these sentiments from team bosses far too often, and it just goes to prove, great F1 leaders of teams are not necessarily the smartest business people, though Ross Brawn turned $1 into $100m in just one year.

Ecclestone is a one trick pony, a second hand car salesman who capitalized on a moment in time when the Eurpoean TV Union broke down and he was able to begin hiving off the broadcasting rights in an auction that was never possible previously.

The teams as always were too busy arguing over some widget and the regulations, and missed the economic opportunities all together.

The vertically challenged son of Suffolk has proved that highly intelligent individuals can be lured into irrational decisions when presented with a choice which includes ‘self interest’ verses the demise of the sport in which they are employed and compete.

The cold hard facts are that Ecclestone and CVC have made countless billions out of F1, whilst seducing others to follow their lead – and their reward for servitude may have been some tens and maybe the odd hundreds of million or so.

Yet something changed yesterday. Ok on the glass half full side, Ecclestone is still in charge of F1 on a day to day basis, however, the power to enter into contracts has been removed from him.

When negotiating, it’s better to say, “I’m not signing unless….”, now Ecclestone must defer this process to the board of CVC. He has been castrated, made impotent in his ability to threaten and bully because he is no longer the man with the decisive red pen.

The manner in which the prosecutors in Munich announced the fact that Ecclestone will face trial, demonstrates a level of confidence that they believe they can get a conviction. Further, the trial and subsequent appeals according to some legal experts could take up to 4 years to resolve, during which Ecclestone can only operate at half cock.

Yet for some time now, CVC have been concerned that criminal and corruption convictions against Ecclestone may give the FIA an excuse to declare their acquisition of the F1 commercial rights as null and void. This is why CVC have sold around 50% of their shareholding over the past 18 months.

CVC have also loaded even more debt on the F1 brand they control, the loans are now estimated at some $4bn.

Ecclestone tonight claims, “The minute the court case is over then I’ll be back on the board again.” Though as history suggests, once a dictator has lost ultimate control, there is rarely a way back to the place they occupied before.

If F1 was in trouble before today, then Ecclestone’s demotion could bring about complete chaos, with the likes of Daimler Benz refusing to participate in the sport unless the son of a trawler man is completely removed from all operational activities until the Munich case has been resolved.

Just as Manchester United without Fergie have lost their air of invincibility, so it will be with FOM/CVC and Ecclestone. Those cliched tributes of how Ecclestone has served the sport well, will soon be forgotten as old grudges surface and retribution begins to become a believable prospect.

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Haas an FIA stalking horse?

Back in December as we were all busy rushing around trying to buy presents for loved ones and ensure that we had every kind of vegetable and sauce for Christmas dinner that was imaginable, the FIA almost unnoticed issued a statement, inviting new teams to express a format interest in joining the F1 circus.

For this privilege they would have to cough up about $5,000 and produce a business plan which would demonstrate the capital and logistical requirements to set up and F1 team, and the ongoing funding required to attend and compete at each and every race on the calendar.

TJ13 commented at the time this appeared to be most bizarre, as this kind of planning takes months and months. The conclusion was that there was a team out there ready to go, which in effect had been pre-approved (which would be illegal) by the FIA.

untitledThis may well be the case, however, all we have so far is a bloke called Gene Haas, who races cars in the NASCAR series. In fact the Stewart-Haas team won the championship in 2011.

Gene is no mug though, he owns the largest tooling company on planet earth (well in the USA definitely) and he developed the Windshear wind tunnel facility in Concord, North Carolina, whose first customer was an F1 team.

Haas wealth is estimated at some $760m – which of course is not all liquid – and to most of us this is pretty rich. However, Red Bull spend this in under 2 years on their F1 programme alone.

TJ13 understands that at this stage of the process, the FIA have not approved Haas or his business plan, though alarm bells should be sounding loudly at his plan to base the team in Charlotte USA. This fact alone would suggest Haas hasn’t got a clue as to what is required to set up and develop a Formula 1 team that can survive – never mind be successful.

There are 2 other expressions of interest, though the FIA is being rather secretive about it all. Maybe good old Gene is just a stalking horse after all.

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Reader Poll

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Marko Watch

The good doctor has been lying low for some time. He clearly misses Mark Webber, because he hasn’t got anyone to slag off anymore. This may mean we see a whole new Helmut in 2014, and the Marko watch team may be forced to disband.

For now though, Dr. Marko has decided to add his two penneth into the Ecclestone debate. His lap dog Christian reckons despite the bribery charges, “Bernie is absolutely the best and only guy to do what he does, to take Formula One to the global reach that the sport has achieved … it’s in all our interests that he’s around as long as possible.’

This viewpoint is hardly surprising considering the very public ‘bromance’ that has been developing between Mr. E and Christian. When asked about a possible successor last month, Ecclestone positively gushed. “Christian would be ideal for my job,’ he said. ‘I would be happy to hold his hand. We could have a transitional period.

It needs someone who knows the sport. If someone comes in from outside, a corporate type, I don’t think I could work with them. It wouldn’t last five minutes. People deal with me because they know me. I’ve known them for a long time and they trust me. They know I’m straight with them. That’s how it is with Christian. I hope we can do it.”

Red Bull clearly have a ‘special relationship’ with Bernie and FOM and Dr Marko begins by stating the obvious about Ecclestone’s predicament. “He is at present innocent. It could take 3-4 years for a verdict… and until then he remains part of F1”.

However, Marko’s second statement is fantastical and mere wishful thinking. It didn’t take 3-4 years from the commencement of Gribkowsky’s trial for a verdict to be declared. Further, the German courts have declared one party to the $44m transfer guilty, and at risk of being simplistic and clichéd, a bribe requires ‘two to tango’.

Were Ecclestone to be found guilty and appeal. His position whilst awaiting the appeal would be untenable – even for the day to day tasks of making coffee for the FOM lawyers.

Ecclestone’s replacement will most likely be a non-F1 individual who is respected internationally for their commercial dealings and someone that CVC can trust to take F1’s commercials into the 21st century.

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Caterham’s nice little earner

Of course no official statement has been made by Caterham F1, but some tea leaf reading and whispers in TJ13’s ear leads us to conclude that the final driver announcement will net the Leafield team around 30m euro’s.

Giedo va der Garde has managed to assemble a 15m euro war chest, and his drives toward the latter part of the season have won him favour with Tony Fernandes.

Marcus Ericsson has a huge 13m euros of sponsorship and has been cited confidently by most as a shoe in to drive for the green team in 2014. However, behind the scenes Mr. E has been weaving his magic and promoting the fact that F1 needs a Japanese driver and Sweden is a far less commercially attractive proposition to Mr. E.

This means Kamui Kobayashi’s 9m euros will trump Ericsson’s 13m euros… add that to the 6m euros Robin Frijns has gathered together and hey presto – Caterham have another 30m euros in the 2014 budget.

Charles Pic who famously ‘won’ second place for |Caterham in 2012 whilst driving for Marussia, is being talked about as a test driver for Lotus – facilitated by Renault. He will get 8 FP1’s and 2 test sessions for the team in black and gold.

Giedo and Kamui should get on like a house on fire as they are old acquaintances from way back in 2006 when they jointly led in the Formula 3 team ASM.

Of course this is all speculation 😉

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Give us your cash and we’ll buy and run an F1 team for you

My keyboard is rebelling as I type the word ‘Quantum’ and despite Gerard Lopez assuring us this week that the deal with Quantum Motorsports is dead – this may not in fact be the case. Mansoor Ijaz may yet be wandering the paddock with gay abandon, attempting to fill our TV screens with post race interviews on how well Lotus is progressing.

The multi headed beast that is Lotus has another spokesperson in addition to Gerard Lopez following the recent investment from Andrew Ruhan and today he tells Autosport that the team “maintain discussions with Mansoor [Ijaz] and still believe it is possible that a deal on a similar basis can be concluded.”

Ijaz explains that in effect the people who were going to invest in Quantum who would then invest in Lotus – were in fact pretty dodgy and so he’s got some new people to give him/Quantum money to buy an F1 team. “The original configuration of the Quantum deal is indeed no longer being pursued by us,” said Ijaz. “That was my decision internally, and I conveyed that to Lotus and Genii before the Christmas break. During the break, we brought the appropriate professional assistance on board, and we conveyed our results on Wednesday to the team, and it was agreed that we proceed to conclusion.”

What was that old nursery rhyme grandma Judge used to sing?

“The merry-go-round goes ’round and ’round,
The children laughed and laughed and laughed,
So many were going ’round and ’round,
That the merry-go-round collapsed”.

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67 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 17th January 2013

    • Despite the inevitability of both Bernie’s removal from power, and the replacing of Martin Whitmarsh as McLaren team boss, I would challenge the sentimental to claim they don’t feel at least a hint of regret at seeing Bernie defeated by Law(-slash PR/corporate governance) and not Time (aka, ‘Death’).

      I wouldn’t have objected to Bernie dying ‘in office’, and can begrudgingly admire his rapacious greed and lusty pursuit of the exercise of Power.

      Is it really so Wrong to have a soft-spot for a benevolent dictator?

      Likewise, I feel for Martin Whitmarsh, a man who frequently seems – on the surface at least – too polite, genial and ‘accommodating’ for the ruthless backstabbing world of F1 team management. A McLaren company man no doubt – my first introduction to him was this brilliant (hilarious!), self-deprecating commercial that McLaren released before the inaugural Singapore GP in 2008…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZHHmXsQryw

      Part of being a fan of F1 is trying to relate to the players, and Whitmarsh always seemed relatable, to a nice dad, maybe. And Bernie makes a perfect crotchety old grandpa type, the kind who was proud to have firebombed German women and incinerated the children of Jerry in Dresden during ‘the War’, and wouldn’t hesitate to say so.

      They’ll both be missed.

      • … I concur wholeheartedly JP….

        …but never forget pretty much everything F1 leads back to Ecclestone – double points…. everyone is enraged – without Bernie pushing it, it would never have happened…

        • Yeah but that goes for the positives as well as for the negatives. Dont forget that either. Mr e is a very big part in what formula 1 is, has become over the years. Not everything he does/did is bad

        • You have to recognise that without Bernie driving things (or herding cats, I mean F1 teams) then we probably wouldn’t have F1 as it is today. However his addiction to getting the best deal is probably going to be his downfall. Never write Bernie off, but I think this is a chasm too far for Bernie to leap across while laughing all the way to the bank. He’s set in his ways and probably more of a block to F1 moving with the times.

          F1 needs to move with the pace of technological change on the broadcasting front. I’m going to keep an eye on how well the WWE network performs, as that could be the model for broadcasting in the future. It’s a huge risk that Vince McMahon is taking, but it could be a lucrative decision if they can get the millions of WWE fans across the world to subscribe to the service. It is going to be a 24/7 streaming service accessed through PC’s, tablets, phones, games consoles etc All 12 WWE PPV’s are included in the monthly subscription price (around $119 a year for the WWE network vs $675 for buying the PPV’s on their own). Plus current shows, new shows and access to the WWE’s extensive tape library (1500 hours of content at launch with more to be added as time goes on). I know some people will scoff at the WWE because it’s wrestling and fake (as Vince apparently once said “Predetermined Winners and Losers”) but you only have to look at how Vince McMahon has taken Wrestling from a regional form of Sports Entertainment in the US to a global brand that’s made him a lot of money down the decades. It’s launching in the US first, with a UK, Canada etc launch at the end of the year or early next year.

          • That sounds like a very interesting model for F1, after the decline from PPV comes around and they start offering less for the TV rights once Bernie is gone.. And they could get around to digitising all the archive footage (1981-) FOM has too to put it all up!

          • “However his [Bernie’s] addiction to getting the best deal is probably going to be his downfall. ”

            Live by the sword, die by the sword.

            Yeah, all I was saying – and this seems to have been understood clearly (thx) – was that Whitmarsh has always seemed like too nice a guy, and I genuinely don’t take pleasure in seeing Bernie hobbled, since (as others have suggested), his influence on F1 cannot be described qualitatively in simple B&W terms.

            Cheers.

      • Just to clarify, my comment was in regard to the article “Time up for Martin Whitmarsh”, before the article about Bernie was published.

  1. Well, I have to say that it sounds like the gloves are really coming off as we enter the 2014 season…

  2. Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
    Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

  3. Looks like a nice coup d’état is the flavour of the month in F1. First Ruhan seizes Lotus and now Ron “Spygate” Dennis putsches himself back into the seat. Look out for Briatore lurking in the undergrowth…

    • Please never use the words “under” and “Briatore” in the same sentence. Brings back memories of the dreaded “T” word 😀

    • Flavio and Bernie own GP2, Queens Park Rangers and do a lot of business together, when the sh*t hits the fan, there’s only one man that Bernie trusts.

      • Just for the record….

        Briatore sold his shares to Ecclestone in 2010…

        Fernandes bought out Ecclestone’s 66% stake for around £35m in 2011….

        But then again Enzo – I’d have no idea who owns AC or the other Milan 😉

        • Ah, I see 😉
          AC Milan is owned by Fininvest S.P.A, the big boss of Fininvest of course is the Capo di tutti Capi Silvio Berlusconi.
          The owner of Internazionale was Massimo Moratti, but he sold the club recently, no idea who the new owner is.
          Moratti is a cousin of Letizia Moratti, who’s son Gabrielle was in court with Eddie Irvine recently.
          Now, the Moratti’s are very very colourful, to say the least 😉
          (check you mailbox;)

    • The hire and fire of Segio Perez, the constant courting of Alonso by Whitmarsh, Big Ron has seen enough.
      Attention on deck!

  4. So getting those news together Martin is available to take Mr.E´s suddenly deblocked place

  5. Some more words of support for Bernie here. I like the guy – he’s the original real-life troll, and I crack up every time he makes one of those far-out statements bound to make smoke come out of the ears of a certain subsection of the F1 fandom.

    I still cherish his proposal for installing sprinklers on circuits to make races more interesting – I never for a second believed he wasn’t joking … or wasn’t he … … that’s what I love about him. You never know, and in the end we’ll never know what’s really going on behind the wonderful soap series that is F1.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bernie doing just fine, business as usual, through 2014. But then, with him, you never know 🙂

    Haters are gonna hate, but guys, grow a sense of humour and learn some about the concept of deadpan 🙂

    Cheers, C.

    • i’m happy to see this comment, too.

      don’t get me wrong, i think Bernie was selfish not to begin succession planning, since it shows he values his own fulfillment more as a legacy than the sustainable growth of F1, but how can u not begrudgingly admire that kind of old-school cynicism? …

  6. The other F1-aspirants are the dentist and the dreamer – Colin Kollis and (even funnier) StefanGP.
    Check AMUS for the whole story.

  7. I joked at the time that if someone had $5000 I’d put in an application as to be honest I have as much credibility and resources at my disposal of some of the dreamers that entered last submission around (09) and as mentioned by @Verstappen Kolles and StefanGP.

    As you predict Judge I have a feeling the FIA already have a willing (and able) candidate lined up but I’m not so such Haas isn’t just another smoke screen blocking what’s really going on.

    It has to be someone with extremely deep pockets in any case as 75-100m will get you into F1 and competing but it isn’t going to make you a front runner or midfielder. Otherwise the proposed budget cap on the 2015 horizon is yet another ploy to draw in a dreamer like we saw in 2010…

    I have to question Honda’s plans in all of this as the expense for R&D let alone manufacturer and support of their new unit can’t be coming cheap. Therefore fronting McLaren as a works team with no other customer is not ideal (but of course not as costly as their team endevour last time around).

    If I wanted to get into F1 as an owner I would simply rock upto Enstone and buy out Genii they’re eager to get out and have everything in place but reliable funding… Broker a 1 year deal with Renault for their power unit (as I still haven’t seen official confirmation they even have a deal) then get on the phone to Japan for 2015.

    • … You’re absolutely correct. There are deals to be done with more than 1 existing team should anyone wish to enter F1.

      At the moment you would assume the Genii investors would be delighted with $150m (50% improvement on capital invested) and you have an experienced workforce and factory already up and running

      The $75-$100m you mention is mostly capital spend doesn’t include the first years running costs.

      On that basis, our ex-billionaire Indian friend and his cohorts could be persuaded to sell I guess for less than $200m now the car is no longer a booze brand awareness mobile advertising board

      • Isn’t it obvious that there’s some ulterior motive driving the FIA request for expressions of interest?

        Idk what it is for sure, but no way they just randomly decided to do an RFP!!

        So yes, stalking horse or something, for sure! 😉

    • I think haas is more serieus than you guys think. And here is why. As we saw last week there is a big gap between america and f1. Most of it was layed out in a 2 piece article here. And as we all know certain people who have a lot to say in our beloved sport want this america thing to happen. Hence the new circuit, that’s not only brand new but also a beauty, not like some other tilke courses. Then there are plans for the new jersey gp. Because let’s face it. With those two you have a much wider audience. One being the “red necks” and mexicans. And one being the “arty farty new yorkers”. To put it a bit cruelly but you know what i mean. So what’s the only thing missing to attract more viewers? An american driver. And off course an american team. But you have the first you don’t have the second. But when you have the second there is a 99,5% chance you have both. And the fia being the fia, they just might happen to be a bit more easy going in terms of giving an american team a chance. Dont forget in f1 there is always more than meets the eye. And this is the missing link…

        • No it isn’t. But i never said it was a smart idea. But that’s no concern of the bobo’s. They just want viewers.

        • The only way America is going to get fully passionate about F1 for any credibly sustainable period of time, rather than the curiosity that it is at present, is with a US team, based in the US, and employing US staff…. they may be a little more tolerant of non US drivers in the short term, but the team would definately have to be US based, otherwise the average citizen will just not be interested

          • RTA, no seriously, do because I wrote it, and I’m curious what you’d think.

            As I pointed out yesterday, one of Haas’ drivers is Danica Patrick, which could potentially give a giant two-fer for F1, as historically she was good for a 12-24% increase in ratings for IndyCar depending on her previous weeks finish. So F1 could get a big publicity boost in the States and a female driver who could hang with the top half of the F1drivers and be properly competitive.

        • The current F1 calendar has only 8 races in Europe, out of a total of 19 races, where the teams can use their trucks. (The teams will fly their gear to Russia) And some of the testing is done in Bahrein.

          So an US based team does not have the disadvantages as they used to have when it comes to traveling. And I don’t think personel would be a problem, maybe they need to fly over a lead designer and a specilist on the rules, but the other positions can be easily filled with a local crew.

          • All F1 folk live in Europe, mostly in th UK. Moving across the pond is considered a big step.

          • It’s more complicated than that. It’s not only the travelling to the races. The most experienced potential employees can be found in Europe, most vendors and subcontractors are in Europe, etc. Just imagine having to test new things between races, in the UK you have some vendors across the street, you can interact with them several times a day if necessary, being in the US it will take at least 3 or 4 days before receiving a component. Add other 4 days for each necessary change to the prototyte. Running a team from the USA isn’t a good idea.

          • I agree that running a team from the US has disadvantages. 10 years ago it would be madness to do it, but now with no in season testing, limited part usage, digital design, etc, we come to the point where it might be possible. The biggest shortage that we have in F1 are sponsors, and an US based team will have more success with an build in the US car sponsorwise.

            Europeans don’t have a problem going to the US for a few years, Newey did it for a couple of years when he worked in CART.

            I agree that the best spot to start a F1 team is the UK, because of personel, suppliers, etc. However for experienced teams such as Haas or Penske it should be possible to run a team in the US, they know local suppliers and find good local personel.

  8. I have to say that for the last couple of years I thought that Nico H was the unluckiest driver as far as team selection went. I think now that Sergio has taken that crown.

  9. I dont think force india will be sold for $200m.force india were valued at $235m way back in 2011.and it doesn’t make sense to sell the team just after 7 years of operation.guys think force india as an british team.
    Changing the advertising doesn’t mean
    an ownership change.

  10. In other news today (Speedweek & Autosprint) – apparently Caterham will field Kobayashi and VDG, with Frijns as their test driver as TJ13 already reported.

    These drivers are rumoured to bring 9M, 15M and 6M, respectively. It seems like Frijns found some sponsors after all.

      • Hehe, nice :).

        I’m surprised to see the 12:05 attached to the message. I didn’t see it when I posted – I must have still had the page cached.

        Just goes to show that it’s a serious challenge to try and beat your Honour to it ;).

    • So Kobayashi coughs up 9m. and gets a full season of GP racing…
      Frijns hands over 6m. and gets a few ‘test’ drives…
      Which one has the better deal…?
      And it doesn’t need Polldaddy to work this out… 😉

    • Any info on how much Chilton can now bring without Aon but with his dad? I can’t see him being retained over Ericsson and 13m Euros if he brings less… So surely he must bring more? Else even Kobayashi and 9m would be a great steal, along with another connection to Ferrari.

    • That’s a bit of a joke… 🙁

      Having said that, it’s Autosport, so the trophy has already been delivered to Sir Stirling’s humble abode.

      • That’s even more pathetic if they put Moss at the very top, he was good of course but nothing to warrant P1 in this list, those British…

        • I respectfully disagree.
          I have as many issues about some of the xenophobic press in the UK, but Moss did finish runner up for four years running and then third for the next three seasons.
          When you take into account that he was runner up to Fangio on three occasions in single seaters but was a better driver when a driver couldn’t see the wheels – ie sportscars – then his placement at the top is a fair one.

          Denis Jenkinson, who by all accounts was somewhat of an eccentric had a top 5, and that was it. His best were Ascari, Moss, Clark, Villeneuve and Senna.

          • Let’s not take it away from BJF too much, although he probably likes the fact that we are already speculating about the top of his list…:-)

            I agree that if you look at it from a purely ‘mathematical’ pov that Moss should be on top of the list, but I’d say that BJF is taking a lot of other factors into account as well (personality, bravery, racing attitude, relative opportunity to become WDC, etc.), and if you do that I think that we can all name a few that come out on top of Moss.

        • Personally I would have Moss or Villeneuve at the top of my own list most likely. I’m still intrigued to see who is on BJF’s list as we approach the teens..

    • Well BDP, they may have but as proven, they are followers not leaders.

      P.s. They and the FIA must be reading TJ13. First the FIA published driver numbers after TJ took a dig at them and now Autosport has published a top 25 after seeing how successful BJBs Top 20 is.

    • Hey, my loyal fans… It can be complimentary to be copied but… when someone tries to ’emulate’, you know they’ve failed if they have to go to ’25’ – hey, I could have easily gone to 30, but had the guts to stick with the more normal figure of ’20’. 🙂
      I haven’t seen their list, because they didn’t send me a free, complimentary copy – but they (and all of you) get mine for free…! 🙂

  11. Who’s the American that is often on the James Allen Podcasts…. he’s a big-shot in corporate sponsorship deals and has been around the background of F1 for decades? My money is on him to succeed The-Limp-Handshaker-from-Suffolk

    • That’s quite interesting, I hope so much Sam Michael thrown out in his ear from MTC along with anyone who wants to continue to sing his praises (Mr Whitmarsh). I’ve predicted for a long long time now that Brawn will come in mid to late ’14 and Alonso will join for ’15 and if not, Alonso and Hamilton back for ’16, especially if Merc don’t deliver any titles over the next 2 seasons. This would be an incredible team if Big Ron can swing it and it’s not often he doesn’t get his wishes where McLaren are concerned.

  12. It was said that the Quantum money was coming from oil rich middle eastern royal familes yada yada….. How is that dodgy? The only dodgy one in the whole Quantum/Infinity fiasco was Ijaz himself…….looks like shit, smells like shit, must be shit because shit by any other name is still shit!

    • doesn’t it seem like Ijaz has narcissistic personality disorder or delusions of grandeur?

      he talks just for the thrill of hearing himself sound important lol…

    • Ha ha CV. You should’ve tried the word wog after the second dodgy.
      Got me banned from a certain site. See whether that lit up his Honour……
      Ah well no matter – there’s so much more out there when I look around. Quality too, even.
      And he’s still a dodgy wog.

    • Middle eastern (particularly Saudi Arabian) oil money is quite often as dodgy as it can get. Adnan Khashoggi had connections with Saudi royalty and achieved notoriety by being involved in running arms to Nicaraguan rebels in cahoots with the CIA / NSA in the Iran-Contra affair in the mid-80’s. Osama bin Laden’s old man was a billionaire with links to the Saudi royals as well. Anywhere you get a lot of people with too much money and time on their hands will always bring out extreme characters. Poor weirdos (like me) can’t afford the pricetag on anything seriously dodgy.

  13. does any one know if there is any TV coverage of the testing? I’m in Nyc so I’m assuming that there is no US coverage but is there other coverage that I could possibly download from a torrent possibly ?

    thanks for your help

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